Director - S. Craig Zahler
Starring - Kurt Russell (Escape from New York, Big Trouble in Little China), Patrick Wilson (The Conjuring, Watchmen), and Matthew Fox (We Are Marshall, World War Z)
Release Date - 2015
Genre - Horror/Western
Format - BluRay (Personal Collection) (Screener)
Rating (out of 5):
When I was in middle school my dad rented the western Tombstone on VHS. My dad loved the film but I stayed away from it at the time. I wasn't a fan of westerns and was stubborn whenever my dad popped it in the VCR. When I graduated high school a friend of mine found the movie on DVD for cheap and grabbed it. We sat around drinking one night and gave it a go where we all fell in love with the film. The film had some of the greatest dialogue that I have heard in a film and quickly became one we would quote often. This opened up westerns to me to some extent but most were not up my alley. As I got older I found several films that blended western and horror together and I loved most of them. Over the years we have been given Undead or Alive, The Quick and the Dead, The Burrowers, and now a new Kurt Russell horror western Bone Tomahawk. I was sent an email asking if I would be interested in reviewing this one. It was hard to remain professional and not send back "fuck yea!" Thank you for sending this one my way to check out!
The film follows town Sheriff Franklin Hunt (Russell) who is investigating a man in town who his deputy thinks is acting suspicious. Hunt shoots him and then brings him to the jail where he sends for the doctor. The town doctor is at home taking care of her husband who has a bum leg and is reluctant to leave but does so anyway. The following morning the doctor, another deputy, and the man acting suspicious is now missing and a black boy is found dead at the stables. They find a strange Indian arrow in the jail cell and ask a Native American if he knows what tribe it is so they can track them down and get their people back from the savages. He learns that the arrow belongs to an ancient tribe of Indian that dwells in the caves and eats human flesh. They live several days ride out so Hunt teams up with his deputy, a gunslinger, and the doctor's crippled husband to find them and kill them.
I've seen several westerns since that drunken night at a friend's house. Sadly, there are only a handful of straight forward westerns that I like but those infused with horror elements are easily likable. I was afraid Bone Tomahawk would be more western than horror. For the most part, this is right but the film does switch gears on you unexpectedly and completely throws you for a loop. The acting in this one is nothing short of fantastic. Kurt Russell shows why he is one of the best in the business. He is a master at playing the hard ass even at his age. He is no longer the young actor that he was in The Thing and Escape from New York but he is still nothing short of spectacular. Matthew Fox delivers one hell of a performance as a ruthless gunslinger who would rather shoot you than get your name. As great as these two are, the film's greatest performance comes from Patrick Wilson. Wilson first caught my attention as Nite Owl in the now classic Watchmen film adaptation. Since then he has gone on to star in The Conjuring, Insidious, and the Fargo television show. This role was very demanding for the actor and required a lot of dedication and he was able to pull off a very intense performance. If anyone deserves an award for this film then he is it. The story for this one is a graphic twist on an old western story. There has been so many westerns over the years that follows a man, group, or posse looking for those taken by wild Indians. Nothing new in the aspect. However, to set itself apart from the others, this film adds the cannibal caveman Indian angle that is as gruesome as it is bad ass. It will be a long time before we see another film deliver an impact like this one again. Finally, the film does have a few on screen kills. Most, at least 90% of them are your typical gun shot deaths that fill every western. However, the film does toss a few insane kills that are brutal enough for the most dedicated gorehounds. The practical effects for these kills are top notch which only make them that more entertaining. Overall, Bone Tomahawk is fucking outstanding. The film pours like a traditional western for the first half then goes batshit crazy the second. This film is easily one of the best films released in 2015 and needs to be viewed by anyone that calls themselves a horror fan. Check it out.