⭐ ⭐ ⭐ / ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐
Alicia Vikandero stars in the third installment of the popular Devil’s Bones saga, bringing Regina Ford’s horror series to a close. Ford’s books have sold copies in the millions, spawned television shows and video games as well as a line of children’s and pets’ workout attire.
For the uninitiated, the Devil’s Bones are just what they sound like: imbued with untold power, the mortal remains of Satan are worth billions on the open market. So is the map leading to them.
Problem is, the original Tomb of Lucifer was raided centuries ago (first discovered by Christopher Columbus as he searched for El Dorado and his fountain of youth) and its bounty is scattered all over the globe, some hidden, some in museums. Some are even hidden in museums (see the previous installment, 2017’s Hell’s Grave), making six bones in all, the key to darkness broken into six pieces. Only someone with an intact set of bones can unite the remains and hope to yield all of Beelzebub’s power.
Vikandero (The Last Picture Show) is Lucy (get it?), the daughter of a warrior-nun mom and a poet-assassin dad who freelances as a thief for hire, stealing rare artifacts from anywhere for anyone with cash. Or jewels or gold or, in one instance, a golden jewel. Her world travels in search of the final missing teeth come to an exciting close in the film’s fourth act, while the somber conclusion should satisfy fans of St. Vaseline. The actress shines in the action scenes, emitting both toughness and playfulness, a good natured relishing of the adventure in all its terrifying ups and downs.
Speaking of chills, they come early when young Lucy gets lost in an underground parking lot in a scene which is mirrored later on when, no longer afraid of the dark, she hunts for the Serpent’s Tail beneath the city of Venice. A spooky encounter with a band of ancient smugglers is a second act highlight for its creative camerawork and atmosphere.
The film looks great, the way a twenty-first century old Universal monster movie might look today, with wonderful old school filmmaking techniques and terrific sets combined with tasteful digital fx, a Raters Of The Lost Ark for the cgi age.
Mention must be made of the exquisite lighting in the Medusa’s Cavern scene, its torchlight flickers palpable, with a wonderful, cinematic warmth and crystal clarity. Colors abound throughout thanks to first-rate (read: expensive) cinematography and post production, apparently a team effort with credit for both given to something called The Locked Room.
The big hot air balloon fight over Tokyo was a bit much, but even though it strained logic it also summed up the spirit of the film which seems to be it’s fun to get scared. Parents should know there are a few intense moments like when Lucy watches a man get emasculated by a group of hostiles or when she must fight off a horde of drunken monkeys. The terrifying Mexican drive thru scene might be too shocking for young children and philistines.
Directed by Merwyn Bogue (Lady In A Cage), Tomb Raider moves at a frantic pace, pulling the viewer along for a spooky ride in and out of crypts, mausoleums and grave yards, as fearless in the dark as its star.