Bone Tomahawk Cracks the Western Horror Formula [Review]

What do you get when you put Kurt Russell, Patrick Wilson, Sid Haig, Matthew Fox and Richard Jenkins in the same movie? Simple, an amazing movie. Now put that cast in a Western/Horror genre mash-up and you get one of the best genre benders of the year.

Bone Tomahawk is about a savage group of troglodytes (cave dwelling) who are tracking a trespasser only to stumble across a small frontier town. Once there they take the trespasser, the local doctor and the sheriff's deputy back to their cave. Upon discovery of the kidnapping, four men set out to find the group and rescue their town folk. The only problem is that these cave dwellers have a taste for human flesh.

Had this film leaned too much one way or the other, it might never have worked. But the way S. Craig Zahler crafted his story, it managed to hit that sweet spot of just enough of both genres to whet the appetite. Zahler slowly builds the characters played by Russell, Jenkins Wilson and Fox in such a way that by the end of the film you are invested in their safe return home. Then when the tomahawks hit the fan, you are devastated by loss that you don't want but must endure for the story to work.

Kurt Russell has been doing westerns for a long time and, it should go without say, he delivers a performance that only a man like Kurt Russell can deliver. If you make a western today there is only two people you can call: Kurt Russell or Kevin Costner and by casting Russell the movie had already hit a high mark. Yet, it is also a horror movie so you need to pull from that genre as well and the casting of Sid Haig, David Arquette and Richard Jenkins was perfection. Jenkins more so, because he manages to steal the show with his character and delivery of dialogue.

When it comes to the FX of the film, everything is done beautifully and practically. All the pistols work was done in excellent western fashion, while the blood and gore is there to satisfy any horror fan. Especially when we reach our climax, we are greeted with some of the best on-screen kills of the year. On a side note I think Matthew Fox might have a faster drawn than Doc Holiday in Tombstone, which came unexpectedly and provides a nice "jump scare" where you are not sure what just happened.

As I said before, Bone Tomahawk hits the sweet spot of just enough western and the right amount of horror to appeal to either genre fan. It doesn't matter which genre you prefer more, because once the story gets a hold of you, you are in for a wicked good ride.

Rating: 8.0/10 Stars 

 Rich Stile @TheDevilsEyes1

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