ASH AND BONE l Painted Creek Productions

ASH AND BONE is written by the up-and-comer Detroit-based writer (and director) Bret Miller. Ahem, excuse me. DETROOOIT! YEAAAHHHH, EVERYBODY VS US! Ahem, sorry, it’s a thing I’m obligated to do as a Detroit-based reviewer. My apologies.

The director is also one of the stars (and multi-black belt holder and breakdancer, according to IMDB), Harley Wallen. He has a few movies under his belt regardless of “[n]ot having a film school background with only limited experience” and deciding “to go online to further his education in filmmaking and [take] several more classes and seminars in acting.” He and his wife Kaiti Wallen formed the film production company Painted Creek Productions and Kaiti Wallen also stars in this film.

ASH AND BONE additionally stars Jamie Bernadette, Angelina Danielle Cama, Erika Hoveland, and Jimmy Doom.

The plot of ASH AND BONE follows the Vanderbuilt family, city-folk coming from Detroit to the sticks to try to bond as a fractured and new family. Rebellious and goth teen, Cassie (Angelina Danielle Cama) pulls no punches with her new stepmother, Sarah (Kaiti Wallen), and grows more distant from her father, Lucas (Harley Wallen).

Trying to have a family vacation in a remote family-owned cabin, tensions only rise to the point of Cassie sneaking out to blow off some steam and find some fun. At a local bar, she finds new friends, Anna (Jamie Bernadette) and Tucker (Mason Heidger). Looking for something to do, Cassie eggs the two to show her the local creepy house of the McKinleys (Erika Hoveland and Jimmy Doom).

However, when they start exploring, they get much more than they bargained for, finding out why so many girls go missing around town. Unfortunately, as they try to escape the house of ASH AND BONE, they’re not so lucky to get away that easily…

ASH AND BONE is an indie movie. Much of it is played very safe and cheap (which is unfortunate because fake blood is so incredibly cheap and/or easy to make). I feel like there were missed opportunities to increase the tension and also make the ending hit much harder than it did. The ending had real potential if tweaked and drawn out a bit more.

Hopefully, if you’ve read my reviews before, it always sticks in my craw when a movie is so close to being much better with a few extra tweaks. For example, the beginning act took too long and the denouement was way too fast (and really needed more concise editing). With some snips and additions, the plot and character development would have had so much more of an impact. Let’s say, a more drawn-out scene with father and daughter and far less (spoiler alert, my friends, but I feel it necessary) rape of the father by one of the killers.

I like to give fair shakes to all movies and I feel there were some highlights in ASH AND BONE. Jamie Bernadette’s expertise in acting really shines through and feels seamless and fluid. You know her character intimately in just a few lines and her body language. Angelina Danielle Cama did a good job; however, so much was riding on her performance and there could have been some re-writes and direction to really make her shine. Erika Hoveland was a good sharp-shooting killer, but man, I feel an opportunity to understand her more and give her some cinematic drama was lost.

The cinematography, unfortunately, played it ever so safe and was at times mundane to watch. The editing was also safe and at the end during the climax, was very muddled (Alex Gasparetto). The beauty of indie horror is the risks that it’s willing to take to tell a story and unfortunately, ASH AND BONE didn’t take many risks at all.

The only other thing I want to talk about was that Cassie’s outfit (Kaiti Wallen) and make-up reminded me of a Hot Topic from 2005. I would have liked to have seen something a bit more fresh from her and her friends. Props to the music that was chosen for Cassie’s group, though; I dug the vibe.

All that being said, ASH AND BONE is not a terrible movie. I wouldn’t even rank it among some of the worst movies that I’ve seen (sit back down, Mother Schmuckers). ASH AND BONE has an interesting story at its core and a few very well-acted scenes. However, I feel like this movie is more of a stepping stone to better things in the future for everyone involved and, at the end of the day, this movie is just reduced to ASH AND BONE. Although, maybe some black-belt breakdancing could have elevated it.

You can catch ASH AND BONE now on Tubi.

J.M. Brannyk
Follow Me
Latest posts by J.M. Brannyk (see all)
Liked it? Take a second to support J.M. Brannyk on Patreon!
Movie Reviews

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

%d bloggers like this: