After an outlaw unknowingly leads a band of cannibalistic Troglodytes into the peaceful western town of Bright Hope, the monsters kidnap several settlers, including the wife of a local rancher. Despite his injured leg the rancher joins a small rescue party with the sheriff, his aging deputy and a strong-willed gunslinger. What follows is a journey into hell on earth as the posse comes to realize it is up against a foe whose savagery knows no bounds. The film takes place at the turn of the century around the border of what is now Texas and New Mexico.Written by
Four Doomed Men Ride Out
Written by Jeff Herriott & S. Craig Zahler
Performed by Haley-Marie Asher, Eleanor Barsch, Chir Dozoryst, Frank Hanson, Jeff Herriott, Kelly Jarvis, Brian Leeper, Elizabeth Marvitz, Brad Townsend & Benjamin Whitcomb
Published by Twilight Riders LLC
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An almost classic Western with a fantastic cast, great dialog and gruesome horror elements
This film is a rather special genre-mix of classic Western themes and gory, insane B-movie horror elements. Films like the quite watchable The Burrowers (2008) and Dead Birds (2004) have mixed those ingredients before with some success, but while those two were undoubtedly B-movies, Bone Tomahawk never feels like your typical straight to VOD genre film.
What really stands out right from the start is the writing: the precise dialog and never less than interesting characters are what really makes this film a winner in my book. The premise might not be very original - it's Western to the bone (pun intended) and very much in the tradition of great classics like The Searchers - but despite its dark themes, there is so much understated humour in Bone Tomahawk that I felt at times reminded of some of the characters in Jim Jarmusch's films. And Richard Jenkins' character, back-up deputy Chicory, is down-right hilarious. The acclaimed (and Oscar-nominated) actor clearly has a blast with his part, and the same can absolutely be said for the rest of the cast. This is a film that is willing to spend a very considerable part of its running time just building atmosphere and exploring the different characters, and the action/horror moments are actually few and far between. According to some recent interviews with the producers, the excellently written characters are also what drew A-list actors Kurt Russell and Patrick Wilson to the film, despite its micro-budget, and if Russell hadn't been so committed to playing the part of Sheriff Franklin Hunt, the film wouldn't have been made.
In spite of its tiny budget, this is a quality film that really should have had a wide theatrical release; everything from the A-list cast to the excellent cinematography, sound and production design practically scream for the big screen. A word to the wise, though; after some initial mayhem, the film moves along at a very considerate pace (and at over two hours it's a rather long film), so for those who seek entertainment heavy on action with non-stop shoot-outs, gory thrills and scares, look elsewhere: this is probably not the film for you (and perhaps also not the film that was promised in the trailers). But if you like old-school Westerns with great characters (played by great character actors), great atmosphere and deadpan humour, and you ALSO don't mind (very!) gory thrills, scares and some bloody shoot-outs along the way, I believe you will enjoy this film very much. I know I did: 7.5 stars out of 10.