Reviewed by

Christopher Armstead

Eddie (Luke Goss) is minding his own business sitting at some diner having a cup of coffee while the diner’s lone waitress, E.T’s mom (Dee Wallace), looks on lustily at the balding blonde stranger, in a location I’m guessing is in New Mexico or someplace. Eddie excuses himself and continues on to destinations unknown but he seems to be being followed by someone and this someone doesn’t look happy. Eddie stops his car to relieve himself and next thing he knows he’s greeted with a gun to the back of his dome, sent to his knees and knocked the f out. When Eddie awakes he finds himself in the middle of the Mohave Desert with only a small atlas, a compass and a walkie-talkie in his possession. A voice comes over the walkie-talkie, announces himself as Jimmy, and instructs Eddie to use the compass to walk north. Should Eddie stray east, west or south he will be shot and this Jimmy has proven himself more than capable of hitting even the smallest of targets at a distance. Of course Eddie is curious what the hell this is going on and why this happening to him, but Jimmy isn’t so forthcoming with information, only threats. So in the middle of the desert, with the sun high above and no water in sight, Eddie ventures north.

I’m not sure exactly what Eddie did to deserve what’s about to come but it musta been something really bad because Jimmy has set about the business of torturing the beejebus out Eddie for the next hour and a half in movie time, which probably works out to about a week in Eddie time. Jimmy leaves Eddie various bottles of water though sometimes the water is filled with salt, or maybe hallucinogens or maybe just water. He’s never quite sure. One day Eddie may wake up nude handcuffed to a cactus or buried head deep in the sand or strapped to the hood of a truck, because we can never be quite sure since Jimmy (Lance Hendrickson) keeps the torture fresh and unique. About the time when Jimmy is pissing on Eddie’s face to wake him up from yet another delusional nightmare it was pretty obvious that Jimmy really doesn’t like this

guy, though the mystery remains why is he doing these things to Eddie, who seems like a nice enough guy. Maybe Jimmy is just some guy who likes to randomly hijack strangers and torture them. But I seriously doubt it as we wade through Eddie’s most horrible weekend to find out what he did to deserve all of this specialized treatment.

I’ve seen a couple of box cover blurbs for writer / director Brett A. Hart’s ‘Bone Dry’ with one being ‘Deliverance meets The Duel’ and another being ‘Saw meet The Duel’. Obviously some marketing guy thought of those blurbs as watching this film inspired thoughts of neither ‘Saw’ nor ‘Deliverance’ or ‘The Duel’ for that matter, but that’s not an altogether bad thing as the story in ‘Bone Dry’ started out interesting enough without needing to fall back on other movies as a crutch. Hart uses his desert setting in this film to great effect and it also helped his cause that his casting was almost inspired as you would be hard pressed to find any actor as weather beaten, worn and as capable an actor as Lance Hendrickson. Luke Goss also has a look that seems tailor made for someone lost on a waterless beach as his skin seems to blend into the color of the sand. Hart also does a fine job, at least early on in the movie, of keeping the proceedings moving since the film is paced nicely and keeping the audience on our toes as we know as little as Eddie does in what’s about to happen next.

It is in the films third act that it loses some of its steam. A lot of what was happening later on the film seems superfluous and unnecessary with the odd inclusion of a desert bohemian and a couple of Humvee driving drug dealers. Though one of drug dealers was Tiny Lister, which is always cool, but still seeming unnecessary. These scenes only served to extend and fluff a film that really didn’t need it. At the time it seemed to me that Goss and Hendrickson were doing a fine job carrying the film to its logical conclusion without any needed assistance.

SPOILERS: But by the time we eventually learn the dastardly deeds that Eddie had done to warrant this abuse, he had been put through so much and tortured so thoroughly that even though we know he has to be some kind of an awful dude it’s kind of hard to completely cast stones against him, though I do credit Hart’s and co-writer Jeff O’Brien’s script with dropping a few subtle clues along the way alluding to Eddie’s transgressions. To the contrary, Jimmy was such an evil person throughout the film that even though there are means to justify his ends, it’s difficult to find much solace in his character either, leaving the audience with no one to really feel anything for. Plus considering what Eddie has done, I would think his main question wouldn’t be why, as this should be obvious to him, but who.

‘Bone Dry’ was a film that was borderline good in my opinion that featured some nice photography, a very interesting premise and a pair of very strong performances. I’m of the opinion that the running time could have used some compression by eliminating a couple of unnecessary scenes and keeping the focus on the two main characters which could have transformed a film that was above average into a flat out outstanding one.

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