A determined sheriff forms a posse and sets out into the
frontier to rescue a woman from a tribe of cannibals.
Bone Tomahawk (2015)
Written and Directed by S. Craig Zahler
Starring Kurt Russell, Patrick Wilson, Matthew Fox,
Richard Jenkins, Lili Simmons, Fred Melamed,
David Arquette, Evan Jonigkeit
I really, really wanted this to be good. The idea of a horror/western has fascinated me for years, as its such a rare genre mashup. When I heard one was coming out starring Kurt Russell, I just knew it was going to be awesome. Unfortunately, Bone Tomahawk fails due to a clunky script and uneven pace. This film is mainly a performance piece for Russell and his costars Patrick Wilson, Matthew Fox, and Richard Jenkins. Plus, not to point fingers, but I'm fairly certain they lifted a few things from Eli Roth's The Green Inferno, most notably the motivation and look of the cannibal natives.
This film succeeds as a western, but falls flat as a horror film. Granted, it does try. The eerie horn blowing that precedes each native attack is actually pretty creepy, but once the natives show up, they aren't a force to be reckoned with. They have no issue shooting and killing them one by one. I was hoping for more of a challenge, especially for a character with an infected leg. I felt like once the cannibals were introduced, the film took a hard left turn into serious torture porn territory, when the natives split a man in half vertically for no reason other than shock value. I have little respect for films that do things simply for shock value, as it cheapens the story.
Bone Tomahawk is a huge waste of potential and an equally huge disappointment. Even Kurt Russell seems to be phoning it in. I'd hoped for a memorable western that truly terrified me, but the most I got was a slightly scary gorefest that will definitely fall behind and be forgotten sooner rather than later. To be honest, Bone Tomahawk is more of a drama than anything else until the natives show up. Usually, that wouldn't be a bad thing. But when your film is billed as a horror/western, it certainly becomes a bad thing.