Everything about this movie was just so fucking cool! Starting from that masculine and visceral title that just screams cult to its multi-talented director and writer S. Craig Zahler. Craig is not only an accomplished writer but he also plays in two bands, and, of course, they are metal bands (one of them is a black metal project). This being said it’s no wonder that Bone Tomahawk is a masterpiece. Not to all viewers, of course. Graphic and intensely gory finale and slow-burning beginning of the movie will make a lot of people skip this one.
I am here to tell you to muster all your strength and try to check it out because it’s worth it. The script and the whole story is so immersive that you get that feeling “fuck, this is what it’s been like back then” pretty much as soon as the movie starts. That realism and the life-like atmosphere is something that you rarely see in modern movies, especially westerns (with the exception of The Salvation). Made with a budget of just $1.8 million, Bone Tomahawk is visually stunning, utilizing all the advantages of the beautiful vistas to tell its story.
Following a robbery, unknown assailants attack the two bandits. One of them survives and seeks out refuge in a local saloon, raising suspicion of the town folk. Sherrif decides to check him out, eventually wounding and locking him up in jail. The next morning, he wakes up to terrible news: doctor who was tending to his wound and the bandit are gone, probably kidnapped or worse. He decides to launch a search party.
As with all good westerns, this movie has a lot of riding and dealing with the harsh life in the wild west. The atmosphere is just so juicy and real that you are pulled into it and once you’re there, you’re hooked. It reminded me of Deadwood, one of the best television shows ever made, and this tells a lot. And with Timothy Olyphant, who was supposed to be in this movie, it would be just too much. It takes great confidence and courage not to overdo things or go straight for the jugular. Bone Tomahawk is so immersive that you will have no problem slipping into that western vibe.
Great dialogue and phenomenal acting from all the four main actors: Kurt Russell, Patrick Wilson, Matthew Fox and especially Richard Jenkins were that sweet, sweet cherry on the top. Not to mention the horror legend Sid Haig. Now, towards the end, Bone Tomahawk gets pretty brutal, creating a strange dynamic that leaves you fucked up and wanting more. Horror and western rarely mix, so this is a refreshing addition to the genre. And if you’re looking for movies like this one check out The Burrowers. It’s a decent horror movie taking place during the Wild West period.
Director: S. Craig Zahler
Writer: S. Craig Zahler
Cast: Kurt Russell, Patrick Wilson, Matthew Fox, Richard Jenkins, Lili Simmons, Sid Haig, Michael Paré
Fun Facts: The final movie represents the first draft of the script.