Growing up, I never understood the appeal of Western movies. My dad on the other hand loved them and though often he would try to get me to watch them with him, I never did. I know that Western movies have their own special following and it seems that people either love them or hate them, with very few landing in the middle. The same could be said about the horror genre as well – as people seem to either love horror movies or hate them. You may be asking why I am bringing up Western and Horror movies. That would be because this year, a Western Horror movie came out that seems to have blown everyone’s mind – including mine! I never in a million years thought I would be writing about how much I loved a Western themed movie, but here I am! If there was one movie that took me by surprise this year, that movie would be “Bone Tomahawk.”
Before I even go into the synopsis of the movie, should probably know that this movie has an all-star cast. “Bone Tomahawk” is directed by S. Craig Zahler and stars Kurt Russell, Patrick Wilson, Matthew Fox, David Arquette, and Richard Jenkins (with a cameo by Sid Haig). That in and of itself should get you to watch the movie – it wasn’t enough to convince me however. My stigma towards Western movies was so big that even having big name stars in it wasn’t enough to get me to initially want to watch it. When I first saw the poster, it didn’t give any suggestion that this would be horror related. However, on social media I kept seeing positive reviews for “Bone Tomahawk” on horror websites, so much so that my interest in it started to perk up.
Now to get into the nitty gritty of the movie. “Bone Tomahawk,” in short, is about four men in the Wild West who set out on a rescue mission to retrieve captives who have been kidnapped by cave dwellers. I would say ¾ of the movie plays out like a Western. We watch as the four main characters, Sheriff Franklin Hunt (Russell), Arthur O’Dwyer (Wilson), John Brooder (Fox), and Chicory (Jenkins) form a search party for the missing captives. The four of them decide to travel to where they think the cave dwellers are located to rescue those who have been kidnapped. First and foremost, the acting is absolutely superb with a surprisingly AMAZING performance by Matthew Fox. For me, he stole the entire show and is probably the one character I remember the most from the movie. It’s not that the other actors weren’t great, I mean seriously, how can you go wrong with Kurt Russell – all the actors were phenomenal and did a great job but at the end of the day Matthew Fox stole the show. His character was one of those characters that you loved to hate. Is he a villain? No. Is he morally corrupt? Depends on your interpretation of his character.
As I mentioned, ¾ of the movie is watching the characters go across the Wild West and seeing how they interact with each other, their surroundings, and the obstacles that they face on the journey. Nothing really “horror-like” happens during this time. Luckily, since I was really enjoying the acting, I was enthralled with what was happening on the screen. I also knew that at some point something was going to happen or all these horror websites wouldn’t be posting about this movie. Then IT happens.
When I say “IT” happens what I really mean is (pardon my French) shit hits the fan. It’s like a whole different movie starts and it’s incredible! I don’t want to go into too much detail because it would ruin the movie but I will say this – if you are hoping for gore, violence, blood, incredible death scenes, and more, than you are in for a treat. Yes it takes some time to get to this point in the film, but I promise you the payoff is worth it. As the credits began to roll, I sat stunned. I actually loved this movie. More than that, I actually really really loved this movie. Besides all the fun horror aspects that the movie had, this is just a great film in general with incredible acting and a solid story. I highly suggest checking out “Bone Tomahawk” which is available on VOD as well as in select theaters.
Bone Tomahawk Review
by Shannon McGrew