Every once in a while, a genre film is released that causes a commotion amongst loyal fans who keep a close eye to what is going on in the scene. These films are usually talked about in length as soon as they are announced, generally during pre-production or even before. On rare occasion, however, a film is released, seemingly out of nowhere, that causes an even larger stir because, well, it was completely unexpected. The latest film to fall into this category is S. Craig Zahler’s incredibly entertaining horror western hybrid, Bone Tomahawk.
Locals have been kidnapped from the small town of Bright Hope by a group of savage cave-dwellers. Now, it is up to the town’s sheriff (Kurt Russell, Escape from New York), his deputy, Chicory (Richard Jenkins, Let Me In), gunslinger Brooder (Matthew Fox, television’s “Lost”), and the husband of one of the captives, Arthur O’Dwyer (Patrick Wilson, Insidious) to rescue them and bring them home safely.
The western and horror genres are two very distinctive ones. While they have been combined numerous times before, it is rare to see one done so successfully. With Bone Tomahawk, writer and director, S. Craig Zahler, has managed to take the best and most recognizable elements from both genres and fuse them together perfectly. Zahler took a completely independent project and produced a fantastic feature-length film that consists of an incredible script, wonderful performances, a beautiful setting, an intriguing story, and explicitly gorgeous gore effects that will please any and every horror fan.
Bone Tomahawk features an amazing cast of actors including Matthew Fox, Richard Jenkins, Patrick Wilson, appearances from David Arquette and Sid Haig, and last but not least, Kurt Russell. With a cast of this caliber, I already knew that I was in for a treat, but I honestly was still not prepared for how great it truly would turn out. This film contains some of the best performances I’ve seen in quite a while and certainly has cemented itself into a very high position in my ‘Top Horror Films of 2015′ list, as I’m sure it has done in many others’. I loved every single character introduced throughout this film, but I cannot choose a performer who stood out above the rest. I was blown away by Matthew Fox, but truthfully, everybody brought their A game to this film and it shows 100%.
While the synopsis prepares audiences for a brutally graphic ride promising abduction and cannibalism, it doesn’t properly foretell of all of the great filmmaking that will be displayed around that central theme. The main plot sees our antagonists set out to track and rescue their loved ones and fellow townsfolk, but there is much more going on here, as well. The amount of character development and the introduction of multiple sub-plots that Zahler introduces to his audience is brilliant and a true sign that this man knows exactly what he is doing. With a runtime of approximately 2 hours and 10 minutes, I was never bored and my interest never waned one bit; I was enthralled from start to finish and I cannot wait to see what Zahler has in store for his next project because of that fact.
One thing that makes Bone Tomahawk such a great flick for not only Western lovers, but also horror fans alike is the use of 100% practical effects. Gore-hounds will be thoroughly pleased, as there is plenty of the red stuff to be seen — from gunshots and stabbings, to be-headings and even a scene where a man is completely ripped in half. Everything looked incredibly realistic and I found myself ‘oohing’ and ‘aahing’ out loud multiple times, in awe of what I was witnessing on screen. The carnage was wonderful and added the proverbial icing to this already delicious cake.
If you are a fan of originality and want to see something totally different from everything else that 2015 had to offer, look no further than Bone Tomahawk. This film has everything you could possibly ask for as a fan and much, much more. Be sure to purchase a copy on DVD and Blu-ray, December 29th from RLJ Entertainment.
I give this one 5 pregnant amputee Troglodytes out of 5.