DIRECTOR: S. Craig Zahler
RELEASE DATE: 10/23/2015
STARRING: Patrick Wilson, Kurt Russell, Lili Simmons,
Richard Jenkins, David Arquette, and Matthew Fox.
I’m really glad I live in the year 2015. Sure, it has its share of problems, but at least it’s not The Old West. The Old West… where it’s a common occurrence for 3 out of your 6 children to die at birth, where you could perish from an infection caused by cutting your finger while making a pot of beans, or you could be scalped by a pissed off Native American whose land you stole. Those early days of America may have seemed exciting, but after watching Bone Tomahawk, you may change your tune.
Bone Tomahawk takes place in a small western town called Bright Hope, a few days ride from the Canadian border. Things are relatively peaceful until a drifter (David Arquette) shows up one evening and ends up getting thrown in jail after being shot by Sheriff Franklin Hunt (Kurt Russell). The backup town doctor Samantha O’Dwyer (Lili Simmons) is home tending to her injured husband Arthur O’Dwyer (Patrick Wilson) when she’s summoned by John Brooder (Matthew Fox), a local hot shot, to come to the aid of the injured drifter. What no one in the town knows is the drifter has been followed by a group of savage Troglodytes, beings who are not animals, and not quite human. The Troglodytes kidnap Samantha during the night. The following morning the Sheriff, along Arthur, John and the deputy (Richard Jenkins) all head out to The Valley of the Starving Men (the home of the Troglodytes) in order to rescue Samantha.
One critique that I think everyone will probably say about this film is that it’s slow and normally that means boring, or it can be a detriment to the story. In the case of Bone Tomahawk, it actually works in the film’s favor. The intro (beside having a great cameo that horror fans will love) injects a nice shot of terror into the mix to get you started, then there’s another moment during the kidnapping, after that, there’s not much in the way of scares. Instead, you’re on a journey with four men, but that’s where Bone Tomahawk starts to succeeds in my opinion. The character development during that trip is thoughtful and it gets you really invested in each protagonist. The perfection in casting only helps solidify that character development. By the time the crew hits The Valley of the Starving Men and shit starts to head south, you truly care about everyone’s well being and it just makes the whole situation more intense.
The last act definitely helps bring home the film. The gore is at an all time high, and rivals The Green Inferno for most gruesome film of the year. The ending also gives you a closer look at the Troglodytes, who are creepily effective and memorable.
Bone Tomahawk blends the western and horror genre in a way that feels fresh and original. I knew based off the buzz I heard about it from TIFF that I would probably enjoy it, but it far exceeded my expectations.
It’s in limited release at theaters across the US and it’s also available on VOD.