Bone Tomahawk (2015)

May the Lord have mercy and grant you a swift death

During a shootout in a saloon, Sheriff Hunt injures a suspicious stranger. One of the villagers takes care of him in prison. One day they both disappear – only the spear of a cannibal tribe is found. Hunt and a few of his men go in search of the prisoner and his nurse.

It's sure to be a bone of contention...
Written and directed by S. Craig Zahler, Bone Tomahawk stars Kurt Russell, Patrick Wilson, Matthew Fox, Richard Jenkins and Lili Simmons. Music is by Zahler and Jeff Herriott and cinematography by Benji Bakshi.
Ah, yes, the horror western hybrid, a most difficult thing to get right at the best of times, even harder to entice newcomers to the sub-genre splice if they don't particularly like horror or westerns! This is a tough sell, a pic of startling originality, but of homage worthiness as well, that it kind of feels like a film made for a secret society of film fans. A society perhaps like the Troglodyte tribe who dominate the horror aspect of this particular tale.
Plot is set in the wild west, where after a set of circumstances leads to the kidnapping of three people from the local jail - by members of the Troglodyte tribe, four men set off on a rescue mission...
How splendid to find a narrative that isn't afraid to nod towards one of the most revered westerns of all time, yet be its own entity at the same time. Bone Tomahawk will polarise opinions, no question about it, the whole middle section involves a travelogue pumped by characterisations and a need to set the stage for what will occur in the final third. However, to even think that the four horsemen of the apocalypse bulk of this movie is mere slow time cinema is unfair, for dark comedy is at work - a racist horse? Surely not?.
So the screenplay not only sparkles with wit, but it also pulses with drama, drama that comes from human stubbornness. Be it men who know that no matter what will happen, they will maybe die in honour due to mistakes or mismanagement, or just a matter of redemption, this mission on the surface seems pure folly, but in reality there is more at work here. And thus comes the horror, characters have been well formed, we know them and are interested in what will happen to them. Like or dislike is irrelevant, we bloody know them, so as the film hits its raging "B" movie straps, shouting at the screen or wincing in harmony becomes a requisite. As is squirming...
Intricately paced, beautifully photographed and splendidly performed by a top cast who aren't interested in top billing or walk of fame recognition, Bone Tomahawk is a grade "A" culter. Zahler could be someone to keep an eye on. 9/10

Caliber Media Company, Realbuilder Productions, Cinestate, The Fyzz by S. Craig Zahler.
Stars: Kurt Russell, Patrick Wilson, Matthew Fox, Richard Jenkins.

Genres: Drama, Horror, Western

Keywords: poison sheriff prisoner murder rifle rescue tribe gore native american decapitation redemption scalping violence captive cannibalism cave dwellers

12/10/2015

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