Late one night, a couple of months ago, I received a text from a friend of mine.
“You’ve got to watch this movie I just saw. It’s…it’s…I’m not sure how to describe it exactly, but you need to see it.”
He wasn’t the only one who thought so, and I finally got around to viewing it recently.
“Bone Tomahawk” is hard to describe because it’s a mix of different genres. A horror-comedy-western? The off-beat entertaining dialogue had me thinking I was watching a film influenced by the Coen Brothers. (And also, two of the actors had appeared in Season Two of “Fargo.”)
I’m not a big fan of westerns. But the very first scene let me know this movie wasn’t going to be typical of the genre. Get ready for some gore. (However, a viewer tuning in after the opening scene could be fooled into thinking they were about to watch a gentle western with amusing characters.)
The main premise is a familiar one: Against great odds, a noble, weary sheriff (Kurt Russell) leads a small posse into the desert to search for a few townsfolk who have been kidnapped by Indians.
Except the natives are cave-dwelling, cannabilistic savages who frighten even the most war-like tribes. And the posse consists of a “back-up” deputy who’s an old-timer with a gift for gab (Richard Jenkins), a cowpoke with a broken leg (Patrick Wilson), and a charming gunslinger with a superiority complex (Matthew Fox).
The screenplay by novelist S. Craig Zahler (also the director) is unique and not half bad for a debut. I think ten minutes could have been shaved off the final product and it would have had better pacing, but the superb dialogue and stellar cast make up for that particular flaw, in my opinion. (Even Sid Haig has a memorable cameo.)
A couple of scenes in the first half hour hint at the extreme violence to come in the last half hour. I’ll never forget the “wishbone scene” near the end. Normally, I’m not that faint-hearted, but I was tempted to skip over it.
So, I’d recommend “Bone Tomahawk” to hardcore horror fans everywhere. It gets three out of five goblins.