“Boneyard” is a 2014 film written and directed by Asif Akbar. It features a stellar cast, including Mel Gibson, 50 Cent, Brian Van Holt, Michael Sirow, and more. The film revolves around three titular characters: Petrovic, Chief Carter, and Detective Ortega, who join hands to catch a serial killer who has turned the desert of West Mesa into his burial ground. Also, the film “Boneyard” is inspired by a real story.  The West Mesa murders were a string of unexplained killings that occurred in Albuquerque, New Mexico, on the West Mesa. Eleven women, as well as one unborn child, were discovered buried in the desert there. A dog-walking lady found the bones on February 2, 2009. The location is a vast, uninhabited region that was being prepped for building.  Victims were females between the ages of 15 and 32 who were engaged in drug use and sex work.

Graves were found between 2001 and 2005, leading authorities to speculate that this is when the homicides occurred. Prior to its 2009 discovery, the site had remained undisturbed. This case has spurred one of the most extensive criminal investigations that Albuquerque has ever seen. Unfortunately, no one has been apprehended by the authorities despite their best efforts. A local photojournalist, as well as a guy with a history of violent crimes against women, were among the many people investigated as suspects, but no criminal charges have ever been brought forward. In simple terms, the investigation is still ongoing.

Boneyard (2024) Plot Summary & Movie Synopsis:

Who is the Monster Behind the West Mesa Murders?

As discussed above, the film explores the chilling West Mesa murders, where the skeletal remains of 11 women were discovered buried in the vast desert of Albuquerque’s West Mesa. At the heart of this gripping film are a determined police chief, a relentless detective, and a veteran FBI agent who team up to track down the man or woman behind these heinous crimes.

“Boneyard” kicks off with a middle-aged woman and her dog accidentally stumbling upon skeletons and lots of them. In no time, the desert is crawling with cops, forensic specialists, and media crews, all eager to get a piece of this grisly story. After extensive digging and recovery, it’s concluded that there are a total of 12 victims—11 women and one unborn child. The grim sight has the cops concluding that this might be the work of a single man, or should we say, a serial killer.

Can Petrovic Unmask the Savvy Serial Killer?

Given the high-profile nature of the case, the Albuquerque Police Department decides to team up with the FBI. This is where Agent Petrovic, a seasoned but troubled veteran with a predilection for alcohol, comes in. Petrovic is hell-bent on solving the case and catching the killer before the week is out. It’s clear Petrovic has had more than his fair share of run-ins with serial killers and criminals. Here’s a bit of backstory: Petrovic used to be a cheerful cop, but his life spiraled after his daughter tragically died in a crossfire. Now, he’s on a mission to ensure no other family goes through what he did.

Petrovic figures their killer isn’t a run-of-the-mill toxic guy with psychotic tendencies. He says that this guy is mission-oriented and believes he’s doing society a favor by offering these women who have led him to sin.  He’s not some childhood abuse victim living in his mom’s basement. Quite the opposite—he’s got a stable job and a seemingly normal lifestyle. This makes him even more dangerous and difficult to track down.

Why is Detective Ortega Investigating Tate?

Boneyard (2024) Movie Ending Explained
A still from “Boneyard” (2024)

The police continue their investigation, following Petrovic’s profiling, by interviewing anyone who might’ve crossed paths with this twisted killer. During their questioning, Ortega learns about Tate, a corrupt cop suspended for misconduct. Rumor has it that Maria, one of the pregnant girls found in the desert, was carrying Tate’s baby. She was a threat to his career, so he silenced and buried her.

Ortega is deeply invested in the case for personal reasons. He’s terrified that one of the remains in the desert belongs to his niece, Selena, who went missing a few years back. Naomi Harka, a sex worker from the area, meets with Ortega to give her statement. She recalls that the night Selena went missing, she saw her with a cop named Tate, who is famous for demanding sexual favors in exchange for letting girls go. Tragically, just a few days later, Naomi herself got into a car with someone and was never seen again.

Ortega quickly shares his findings with the Chief and Petrovic, convinced that Tate is their guy. However, Petrovic isn’t buying it. Turns out, the FBI has been secretly keeping tabs on Tate, hoping his shady late-night escapades might lead them to some high-ranking cartel members. Tate gets arrested, but without any solid evidence, they have to let him go.

Boneyard (2024) Movie Ending Explained:

Is Caesar Manto the real West Mesa Serial Killer?

A proprietor of a small liquor store visits the police headquarters to inform Petrovic about Caesar, whom he suspects of being involved with the girls who went missing. According to the statement, Caesar is an odd, disconnected individual with a particular interest in sex workers, particularly minors. Caesar Manto also matches Petrovic’s description of a serial murderer. Caesar has worked with the same cable company for twenty years and resides a mile away from the Mesa site. He is quite devout and attends church every week. Not to mention, Caesar has a history of arrests related to soliciting sex workers

The sex workers who testified against Caesar also accuse him of attempting to physically attack them.  The cops eventually apprehend Caesar, which also leads them to discover a girl’s lifeless corpse in the bedroom. So, is Caesar Manto the real West Mesa serial killer? No, because Manto’s DNA isn’t found on any of the victims buried in the desert. So, the dead body of a girl in Caesar’s bedroom was just the result of a sex act gone south. As the film nears its end, it takes a leap of one month, and we see Detective Ortega receiving a call from Bill, who informs him that they have just stumbled upon a new boneyard and have uncovered multiple dead bodies.

Read More: The X-Files (1998) Movie Ending Explained: Do the X-Files get reopened?


Boneyard (2024) Movie Links: IMDb, Rotten Tomatoes, Wikipedia, Letterboxd
The Cast of Boneyard (2024) Movie: Mel Gibson, Curtis Jackson, Brian Van Holt, Nora Zehetner, Gabrielle Haugh, Weston Cage, Spice Williams-Crosby
Boneyard (2024) Movie Released on Jul 5, Runtime: 1h 36m, Genre: Mystery & Thriller/Crime/Drama
Where to watch Boneyard

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