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After three of its employees have been reported missing in the Southern African Namib desert, the Eland Mining exploration company mounts a search and rescue expedition, comprising more employees which team up with Dr. Zach Straker, who researches extreme survival systems. Amidst the moving sand dunes they find human bones with just some blood on it, and identify them to belong to two of the missing men; then these disappear again, and they observe a strange monster, which according to a native former herdsman is known by the local people as Esikhulu. It's able to (dis)appear, survive shotgun hits, fatally 'incorporate' human bodies -picking them off one by one- and make water turn acid... Written by
"The Bone Snatcher" is all that engrossing a creature feature.
Hoping to find a cause for a series of strange disappearances, Dr. Zach Straker, (Scott Bairstow) is sent to South Africa and is placed on an expedition with fellow workers Mikki, (Rachel Shelley) Karl, (Warrick Grier) Titus, (Patrick Shai) and Kurt, (Andre Weideman) to a previous expedition's campsite. Finding only bloody remains and strange pock-marked tracks in the sand, they suspect a crew member went berserk rather than the evidence that points to something else. The group is eventually stranded in the desert and wait out until they can get rescued, and eventually comes under attack from a small army of flesh-eating ants. After having survived a series of attacks from the ants, which they learn could assume human size using discarded bones, they try to find a way to battle the voracious insects.
The Good News: There wasn't a whole lot here that was worthwhile, but it was decent enough. The story is actually pretty clever, and actually has some potential with a cool creature premise and a unique setting. The main idea for the monster is a fairly clever twist, and it allows for a couple of great moments. The two night-time attacks are the main examples, and are pretty clever. The desert does at times look very foreboding and some great atmosphere is derived from it in the beginning. Other than that, though, that's about it.
The Bad News: A couple of decent scenes aside, there isn't a whole lot either. The fact that there's so much time in between attacks in the film is hardly acceptable, as it wastes time by having the characters doing absolutely nothing. All we get is pointless bickering and wandering around the desert, and that's all there is. The first half moves very slowly and doesn't really do much to alter that. It's hard to sit through when the monster isn't on-screen. The monster itself isn't that threatening to begin with, being on-screen for only a couple times throughout the film and that really takes the fear out of it. The incredibly short attack scenes are over so fast that they're over before you have a chance to really see what's going on, and they're all really underwhelming. There's a couple of other little things here and there that weren't that spectacular, and don't really need explaining.
The Final Verdict: A nice concept and an original creature don't mean much of it's not on-screen or attacks so non-eventfully. It had potential, which is sad as it could've been so much better, so give it a shot if you enjoy the Sci-Fi Channel films or enjoy the lower end of the scale of films.
Rated R: Language and Violence
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