Bone Tomahawk (2015)

Bone Tomahawk

I grabbed this DVD today, at Target, thinking it starred Kurt Russell in another Wyatt Earp-like sheriff role. I didn’t even bother to read the box notes.  It’s a horror-western and a good one at that!  Bone Tomahawk (2015, written/dir. S. Craig Zahler) is one of the most unusual films in the last decade.  The low key delivery reminds me a bit of the Jim Jarmusch-Johnny Depp  western romp Dead Man (1995), co-starring Robert Mitchum in his last role. Bone Tomahawk is well-acted, with Russell as a competent small-town sheriff, Richard Jenkins as Deputy Chicory (who steals the show), Matthew Fox as Brooder an indian hunter, Patrick Wilson as an injured man looking for his wife and David Arquette as Purvis a psychopathic throat-cutter and thief. Syd Haig even gets in on the action and has some memorable early scenes as Purvis’ mentor.  Also look quick for Michael Paré and Sean Young as townies.

This film has believable and funny dialogue.  The best lines come from Jenkins who runs his mouth with equisite timing the entire duration of the film.  My favorite part is when he asks the sheriff if he ever reads in the tub.

The film is definitely a hybrid. I’d call it a western with horror elements. At times I felt like I was watching a cross between Tombstone (1993) and The Time Machine (1964). It graphically gory with one especially gruesome scene involving a Bone Tomahawk used as a cleaver.

The story has Russell, his deputy (Jenkins), an arrogant aristocrat (Fox) and Wilson setting out to track down kidnapped doctor/wife Samantha (Lili Simmons), held by a savage cannibal tribe of troglodytes. You heard me right.  These guys are bit like the Morlocks from The Time Machine, but they can come out in the daylight.

Big thumbs up on this one.  This would be a good western-horror pairing with The Burrowers (2008).

IMDb Entry

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