DreadWorld Review: 'Bone Tomahawk' (2015)


It's 2016 so Happy New Year! Around the DreadWorld offices, the beginning of the new year means a hopeless scramble to catch up on all the excellent horrors we may have missed over the previous year so we can provide a through DreadWorld Top 8 list. With that thought in mind the good folks at Amazon Prime made the Kurt Russell vehicle Bone Tomahawk available for free streaming - so welcome to our morning around here. Without further adieu...Kurt Russell in the western The Hateful 8...err...Bone Tomahawk!

When a group on inbred cannibal Indians kidnap a young wife and the deputy sheriff from a small western town, four men, including the sheriff (Russell) and the kidnapped woman's husband (Patrick Wilson) set off to rescue them from their captors. But what they find at the end of their journey is more horrific than any "rescue" they could have imagined.

First things first, Bone Tomahawk is a western...and not in that "there's a couple of guys on horses western" but it's a full Man With No Name western. There are certainly horror elements strewn throughout the film, and the third act invokes the spirit of films like The Hills Have Eyes, but having the patience to get to that point will scare off a lot of folks. Those of you who are low on tolerance for talking and into quick payoffs will probably not dig Bone Tomahawk.

Those of you who do choose to stick through the more plot heavy/slower elements of the film will be rewarded with one of the most rewarding horror experiences of 2015. Russell is amazing as to be expected. But it's the supporting cast that makes Bone Tomahawk something really special. Russell's sheriff is backed up by angry husband Wilson, second deputy Richard Jenkins, and Matthew Fox as a somewhat professional Indian killer - all of whom are excellent. Yes. Matthew Fox is fucking awesome in this film.

First time feature director, author S. Craig Zahler does a good job of capturing the feel of a western. And while the film lacks the long establishing and wide shots that are characteristic of the western genre Zahler more than makes up for that deficiency with a ridiculous amount of tension filled moments. It's not the prettiest looking film, but it's certainly passable. The pacing is a bit slow, especially early and the film is a little long, both of which can happen to inexperienced film makers. But neither of those flaws is egregious enough to sink the film.

For those of us who are horror fans Bone Tomahawk makes its, well, bones in the third act. It's one of the more gruesome half an hours committed to film in a long time. The film won't be for everyone, but if you can lose yourself in the story and the interplay between 4 actors at the top of their game for and hour and a half, Bone Tomahawk will give you one hell of a payoff.

**** out of *****

That's it for me. As always: Thanks for reading and "Enjoy every sanwich."

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