S. Craig Zahler’s gruesome and gnarly BONE TOMAHAWK is the epitome of a slow burn, and it hits all the marks in this concoction of a horror-western, b-movie, grind house-ish ode to everything that’s transgressivley amazing about cinema.
Set in the late 1800’s, a search party made up of the town’s Sheriff (Kurt Russell), the affable “backup” deputy (Richard Jenkins), the missing woman’s husband (Patrick Wilson) and a mysterious gunslinger gentleman (Matthew Fox) set out on a suicide journey into the heart of darkness to rescue a kidnapped woman (Wilson’s wife played by Lili Simmons) who was taken by a nasty and ghoulish group of indigenous people.
This is a film that I can’t really peg down. For a genre film, it’s production value is incredibly high, costume design is fantastic and the score by Zahler and Jeff Herriot achieve in a tranquil way, the characters journey to impending doom. For having a deserving, gruesome and bloody climax, it was made without CGI and makes it that much more rewarding. The way Zahler captures the locations, the actors and builds an unprecedented amount of suspense is truly awe-some and admirable.
Kurt Russell is absolutely who we want him to be, the archetypal, honorable, ultimate bad ass alpha who will stop at nothing to rescue this woman. Richard Jenkins is charming as he is affable providing unexpected and quirky comic relief that is an audacious line to walk in a film like this, but is completely welcomed and works perfectly. Patrick Wilson gives one his best performances as the rage filled husband, forcing himself to go on this journey with a broken ankle, pushing himself to the brink. And then there is Matthew Fox, who absolutely steals every single scene he’s in as the very cool and calculated gunslinger with his own dark past.
Rounding out the fantastic cast is David Arquette, the always wonderful Fred Melamed, and surprising and welcome additions by Sean Young, Michael Pare, James Tolkan and the legendary Sid Haig.
The only way I can articulate my admiration and description of the film, is that this film is as if John Carpenter directed THE DESCENT meets THE THING with a dash of THE PREDATOR, set in the late 1800’s. I’ve watched the film twice back to back, and I can’t wait to revisit it again. This film certainly isn’t for everyone, but if the trailer and premise excite you, seek it out immediately. You will not be disappointed.