Bone Tomahawk (2015) Poster

(2015)

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7/10
An almost classic Western with a fantastic cast, great dialog and gruesome horror elements
gogoschka-124 October 2015
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.

Lesser-Known Masterpieces: http://www.imdb.com/list/ls070242495/

Favorite Low-Budget And B-Movies: http://www.imdb.com/list/ls054808375/

All-Time Favorite Films: http://www.IMDb.com/list/mkjOKvqlSBs/
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9/10
The most disturbing western I have ever seen...
SpoilerAlertReviews31 December 2016
An impressive directorial debut from writer S. Craig Zahler, who also wrote this gruesome, filthy western of how wild the west can really get. More so impressive that the whole film was shot in just 21 days.

An outlaw drifter wanders into the town of Bright Hope unknowingly leading a tribe of savage, inbred, natives better known as Troglodytes which translates as Cave-dweller." During the night, these horrific abominations murder and kidnap some of the town folk, one being the wife of a crippled rancher, who then embarks on a rescue mission with the town sheriff, his old and incapable deputy and an over confident gunslinger.

Kurt Russell heads up the rescue posse as Sheriff Hunt, slipping comfortably into his western boots. Richard Jenkins plays his ageing deputy, Patrick Wilson the limping, desperate rancher and an impressive Matthew Fox who stole the screen, as the charismatic, narcissistic know-it- all who both annoying yet strangely likable, reminding me a little of Val Kilmer's Doc Holliday in Tombstone.

There's an air of mystery for the majority of the film, keeping the audience on tender hooks waiting to see what's in store for the rescue party. Are the kidnapped still alive? Dead? Or worse? While some elements are left to your imagination, you can only think of the worse, but what isn't, is nothing short of disturbing.

The gory violence is shocking to watch, even just hearing the graphic noises is enough. The sound is gruesome, bloody and unsettling. The climatic end was actually painful to watch, scarring the memory making me shudder just at the thought of it. The lack of a score only intensifies the haunting atmosphere.

Something has to be said for the special effects, make-up and the sound engineering that were all completely on point. I've never seen a more gory western, even more so than The Hateful Eight. The makeup and effects throughout are amazing but they really go beyond during the epic climax.

There's been a few disturbing films this year, visually, Neon Demon and imagination wise, Nocturnal Animals springing to mind but this one really made me wrench covering my mouth with both hands. It's like those good horrors you're too scared to watch but find yourself mesmerised to the screen regardless. This is certainly not one for the weak stomached. Kudos to director Zahler for created a stunning western with a difference, becoming borderline horror.

Running Time: 7 The Cast: 9 Performance: 8 Direction: 8 Story: 9 Script: 7 Creativity: 9 Soundtrack: 9 Job Description: 10 The Extra Bonus Points: 10 for the sound and graphic quality.

86% 9/10
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9/10
A fresh, original blend of genres that results in a new cult classic!
hammit2 November 2015
This film is a great example of what Hollywood is sorely lacking these days: Originality! Like other reviewers have mentioned, this is slow burning western/horror flick that keeps building the suspense until the finale. It's not an edge-of-your-seat thriller that is loaded with action, but it has enough to keep your interest. It has more of a typical western feel to it in terms of character development. The dialogue is spot on for this genre. The acting is superb and plot is genuine. I think that it speaks volumes about the script given the fact that the actors signed on for minimum pay (that means they WANTED to be in this film for the script and plot). The gore is definitely there for the horror fans, although I would say that if you are seeking a lot of gore, you may be disappointed. It does have some that is pretty graphic. I definitely would not let children or even some teenagers watch this, its an adult movie. If you are a fan of westerns, I think you'll like it a lot. If you are a Kurt Russell fan, you will not be disappointed (this was his first western since Tombstone). Patrick Wilson and Matthew Fox make an excellent supporting cast and demonstrate their acting skills well. This is a new cult classic!
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Very well-made, very intriguing western/horror film.
Red_Identity29 November 2015
I expected some sort of comedy-horror/western hybrid, but what I mostly got was a serious western with noticeable horror touches thrown in (until its third act, where the horror becomes even more prominent). I was surprised at how seriously the film took itself, which I now think is a strength. It could have been so easy to just make it yet another goofy horror/comedy, but what we got instead is a very restrained, very well-made, sort of classic adventure story. The directing is on point and there's a great control over the tone of the film. The decision to have so much of the film silent and without any noticeable score was a great decision. The cast is aces and the three real supporting players (Fox, Russell, Jenkins) all get their time to shine without anything being forced.
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8/10
Nice Surprise
WinterbornTM14 November 2015
Bone Tomahawk is a 2015 western-horror written and directed by S. Craig Zahler and starring Kurt Russell, Patrick Wilson, Matthew Fox and Richard Jenkins.

The story follows four men, the town's sheriff (Russell), a cowboy (Wilson), the back-up deputy (Jenkins) and a gunslinger (Fox) who go on an expedition to retrieve a group of captives from some cannibalistic cave-dwellers. The four actors really shine in this movie, giving very good performances, especially Matthew Fox as John Brooder. It's good to see Fox in such a good role, considering he hasn't done that much since the Lost years.

The movie gives us a very good look at the Old West. As the four men make their journey, we learn more and more about them and their motivations. Sheriff Franklin Hunt is a man who wants nothing more than the safety of his town and is willing to do anything to protect it. Arthur O'Dwyer is a cowboy who has a serious leg injury but still goes into this expedition, because for him the stakes are personal. Chicory is a simple-minded old deputy but with amazing loyalty for the sheriff. John Brooder is a well-dressed well- mannered gentleman who joins the ride because he is a trigger-happy gunslinger with a personal vendetta against the natives.

The script is very well-written, giving us full tri-dimensional characters. Also the dialogue and the mannerisms feel very authentic, transporting you back to the Old West. As I said in the beginning, this movie is a horror-western, and that really shows in the third act. There are some brutal, gore-scenes that will not be easy to digest (no pun intended) for those faint of heart. One slight negative about this movie is the pacing. Sometimes it feels a little too slow, but not enough so that it will ruin your enjoyment.

Bone Tomahawk is a very good movie, with an interesting premise and a nice twist on the western genre. It's a movie that could have gone wrong in so many ways, but surprisingly, it doesn't. Sporting some great characters and an intriguing storyline, Bone Tomahawk deserves an 8 out of 10!
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8/10
Western meets Cannibal, a brilliant classic in modern times
shaun700029 January 2016
In 2015 where we are used to seeing none stop CGI, thin plot, endless action trash...here we have the opposite, a real movie gem. It's a classically crafted western that ended up as a brutal cannibal masterpiece.

At first it does make the audience feel that theirs not much happening compared to general modern cinema but what we do have is quality acting, cinematography and script building up to the shocking and unpredictable end

I can't recommend this enough, unlike most films of today it's not made for profit it's made for quality film making, something which I fear today is few and far between

Go watch it
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8/10
A Strong Western with the Brutality of a Horror Film
MattBirk12 November 2015
Bone Tomahawk is about a small group of cowboys who set out in search of a group of cannibals who have kidnapped some of their townspeople, including the wife of one of the rough riders. It may sound similar to a lot of other westerns in the sense that it's a rescue story, which is somewhat true in the beginning. The first half of the movie is a great character drama as it follows the group of four for a few day and nights as they travel to their destination. This is where some people might have a problem with the film and the pacing might become an issue. During this time, we get expanded knowledge about the men involved and I found it rather entertaining because the route to their destination is just as dangerous as the destination itself. Yes, the movie could have been trimmed down by about 10-12 minutes, but it wasn't too slow that I lost interest (like many others I have read did).

It is during this time where acting comes into play and, for the most part, it's all on point, especially Kurt Russell! To no surprise, he is the highlight of the movie and is no one to be trifled with. He gives a very gritty and convincing performance worthy of his filmography. As well as the three other gentlemen that ride along with him, they all hit their marks (even my boy Matthew Fox from LOST).

The only real problem outside of the pacing is Lili Simmons' awkwardly dull performance (mostly during her captivity). Normally I wouldn't point out such a small characters performance but it was seriously lacking. It could be because her character was poorly written for the type of situation she was in. For example, why was she so relaxed and showing barely any emotion in such a frightening situation? Yes she could have broken down mentally but that doesn't let her off the hook. Also her line delivery was highly questionable and her overall performance felt like dead weight.

But it is the final 45 minutes of the movie that will leave everyone talking. Bone Tomahawk explodes into the horror genre with its cannibalistic violence (is this the return of cannibalistic horror movies?). The action is swift, and I mean very swift, it really comes out of nowhere. And this was what I loved most about the movie, you know they are getting closer and closer to unprecedented evil but you aren't quite sure when or where they will strike. It's this trepidation that makes the final third of the movie so thrilling. They're clearly unprepared for the gauntlet that is waiting for them. I won't spoil anything but the movie really doesn't shy away from violence once they get to where they are going. Bone Tomahawk transcends from a slow moving western into a carnage fueled frenzy.
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7/10
The Hills have Eyes meets Wyatt Earp !
kinwingwu28 January 2016
I watched this film very tired the other night and found myself sitting up alert immediately !

Pleasantly surprised I found it an entertaining macabre mystery thriller horror with outstanding performances by a quality ensemble of veteran actors working with good dialogue from a competent script.

Normally expect relative unknowns to do this type of film and end up with a B-Movie type of re-working of 'Hills with Eyes', but instead of the atomic bomb test in-bread cannibalistic mutants we are dealing with North American cannibalistic Indian savage troglodytes,

That somehow have avoided being massacred by the U.S Union Calvary Army and take revenge on some trespassers on their Indian burial ground and follow one back to a small town, end up killing and kidnapping some locals including a young woman whose husband, town sheriff, deputy and local gun slinger go in hot pursuit.

There is some elements from Ravenous 2001, Japanese horror film 'The Audition' with hints of blinding and limb amputations. A quality low budget movie with top notch acting from a first time director who wrote the script.
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8/10
A rare, but effective blend of genre's.
jailbirdtri29 December 2015
My Rating: 7.5/10

A rock-solid western in the beginning, Bone Tomahawk transforms midway to become one of the most gruesome horror movies this year. It's not an unlikely combination. There have been a few titles in the past that falls under the western-horror category, but not many of them delivered so well.

Written and directed by S. Craig Zahler, the movie has a smart and tight screenplay. Zahler's story is unflinching and he never dilutes the intensity of what is shown on-screen. He succeeds in maintaining an air of unpredictability throughout the whole feature, and yes Zahler's name is definitely something to look out for in the future.

The story is set in the American old west, maybe during the end of 1800's. Four men are on a mission to rescue a few kidnapped people from a tribe of inbred man-eating savages. The quartet includes The Sheriff of the town Franklin Hunt (Kurt Russell), an injured Cowboy Arthur O' Dwyer (Patrick Wilson) whose wife Samantha O' Dwyer (Lili Simmons) is one among the captives, an armed gentleman John Brooder (Matthew Fox) and the Backup Deputy Chicory (Richard Jenkins).

The casting is okay but not great. The veteran actors Kurt Russell and Richard Jenkins give their best. Russell gives a fine performance as the Sheriff, making the whole premise believable. Jenkins' character Chicory might be the most likable of all and his role feels so natural and belonged in the whole plot. Patrick Wilson does a commendable effort, and so does Mathew Fox. The only character that appears to be misplaced is the town doctor Samantha O' Dwyer played by Lili Simmons. Her performance doesn't seem to blend in the 1800's period.

The cannibals were nightmarishly original. And their savagery is not just spoken of; rather it is shown in detail. The camera doesn't shift around much when it comes to the bloody violence. The eerie atmosphere together with the unpredictably quick turnarounds makes the feature quite effective. A major plus of this movie is that it sticks to being as realistic as possible. Be it the dialogues, the situations, the acting or even the gut-wrenching violence and gore, Bone Tomahawk is realism to the bone.

Recommended watch, if you can sit through a good old, slow paced, formal talked western in the former half and all the bloody gore in the later half, but ultimately the movie pays off.
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9/10
An awesome western after a very long time with superb locations, awesome one liners n a very dark n brutal showdown.
Fella_shibby23 August 2017
Saw this in early 2016 on a dvd. Revisited it recently. I was waiting for a second viewing before writing a review about this good film. The plot - A suspicious stranger is shot in the leg n put into a lock up by the sheriff Kurt Russell. Unknown to the him n the townsfolk, the stranger n his dead partner has insulted a cannibalistic tribe. Later, the stranger, a deputy n a lady doctor who is nursing the wounded stranger r all abducted by the savage tribesmen. The sheriff goes on a rescue mission along with his backup deputy, Richard Jenkins, a gunslinger, Matthew Fox and a wounded Patrick Wilson, husband of the lady doc. Before going on this mission, they r all warned about the savage cannibalistic tribe. Fans of the western genre will definitely enjoy this slow burner. Mind you, this film is not at all boring. The dialogues r good, the character development is brilliant n the acting is top notch. The pacing of the film is well complemented with intelligent and witty humor and highly likable characters n a sense of brooding dread. Debutante director, Zahler did a terrific job considering the budget. His earlier effort as a screenwriter, Asylum Blackout is a good horror film too. Before diving into the brutality n shocking violent confrontation, we r given solid tension, suspense n the ominous loactions. Much of the film is shot in broad day, sun soaked settings. Some really good work by the cinematographer Benji Bakshi. The director is heavily influenced by classics such as The Searchers n Hills have eyes.
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8/10
So far one of the best horror movies this year
jalaalkhan4 November 2015
My title says it all. No other words best to describe this movie other than to say that this is the best horror/western movie this year and i would venture to say that this movie probably has taken the cup for being the best this year. If you are a fan of horror or western movies then you should definitely check it out. Kurt Russel, Patrick Williams give strong performances. All the four main characters describe one simple notion throughout the movie. Russell--A town sheriff who would do anything to fulfill his duty as a town sheriff and bring the criminals to justice. Williams--A loving husband who would do anything to bring his love back even in the face of immense odds.

There are some scenes in this movie which will definitely shock you being so gory and violent and this is coming from me being a long time horror movie fan who is not easily shocked. To give you an idea how certain scenes will be imprinted in your mind for some time is like when you watched the movie Sinister and there were some scenes that you could not forget for a while.

Finally do not take my word for it or someone else's and give this movie a try and then decide for yourself. You ll not be disappointed.

8/10
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8/10
Expertly Written yet Disturbingly Gory
PyroSikTh13 November 2017
Warning: Spoilers
Bone Tomahawk is a steady mix of Western and Horror smooshed together seamlessly. It has all the usual Western tropes, albeit reduced to their simplest and most realistic, but also adds in significant enough moments of gore and cannibalism to stick with you long after the film has ended. It's certainly not a film for the mainstream, which is probably why it coasted under the radar upon its release. It's a slow burn that takes the time to find humour, charm, and entertainment in the mundane. It's first act puts you right into late 1800s frontier America for the everyday civilian. Cowboys are literally just guys who heard cows, Sheriffs keep peace in a quiet town, bartenders struggle for custom, doctors tend to the sick and injured, and ex-military keep to themselves harbouring their own inner demons. Life is quiet and peaceful inside the town, but wild and dangerous outside.

The film opens with a guy's throat being sliced open, but not in the typical Hollywood fashion of a quick cut and blood spurting everywhere. It's like slicing through meat and bone. This pretty much sets the tone of the whole movie. It prefers gritty realism to anything else, without glamourising anything, and also doesn't shy away from it's more graphic moments. When someone is brutally murdered, they're really, brutally murdered. Slicing, stabbing, guts and blood. Bone Tomahawk is not for the squeamish or faint of heart.

But the realism also extends to frontier life. I've already mentioned how it portrays a quiet town in the off-season, and the every day civilians who inhabit it, but each character who gets focus is built in such a way that they're not just characters; they're believable personalities with backstorys, desires, and varying degrees of intelligence. The use of vocabulary alone not only transports us back to those times, but also speaks volumes to each character and their motivations.

The acting is top-notch across the board. Kurt Russell is Kurt Russell. He just oozes screen presence just by being there, and his Sheriff is both smart and patient, with his heart in the right place, and an awareness for those around him that makes him both intuitive as a Sheriff and empathic to his fellow men, no questions asked. His back-up deputy is played by Richard Jenkins with a gentle naivety that's hard not to love. He's old and chatty, but isn't too smart. Yet Jenkins manages to breathe such life into him that he never feels like the joke of the film, even though he's by far the most humorous character. Patrick Wilson's cowboy Arthur is the everyman of the group, and his broken leg throughout puts him in a unique position not often seen in movies. He's in pain almost perpetually, and the only thing that keeps him going is his determination to rescue his wife. He's heroic in the least heroic way, with no grand feats, limited by his injury, and relying entirely on his smarts to outwit the cannibals.

Honestly, for me though, Matthew Fox's Brooder is probably the most engaging and interesting character. He's ex-military with a chip on his shoulder brought on by a tragic backstory that's never made a big deal of. For all intents and purposes, he should be the unlikable dick, but instead Fox gives him a charm and worldliness that makes him oddly likable. He never drifts into antagonism despite often holding views and attitudes in opposition to the other three, and while his pride and vanity would make him unpleasant company, they instead give him an edge that puts him at odds with everyone else. Matthew Fox really can act, and do it really well. He offers a better performance than his more esteemed co-stars, and that says a lot considering the company.

Bone Tomahawk also excels in it's more technical aspects as well. Sound design is extremely good, emphasising every moment, no matter how quiet, disturbing, or mundane. When a knife cuts into flesh, you can hear the piercing, the slicing, and bone grinding that takes place. When the wilderness is quiet, the subtle ambiance of birds and breeze gently caresses the background. The lack of a musical score (for the most part) gives these exceptional demonstrations of sound design a chance to be their own thing, and adds all kinds of suspense and intensity to moments that would otherwise be cheapened by music. When someone is suddenly hit with an arrow, phwomph. The unpredictability brought on by the lack of music adds so much.

Bone Tomahawk was a wonderful surprise. I'm not sure I'm in a rush to watch it again, not because of that death scene, but because the second act felt like it dragged maybe a little too long. There's only so long watching a guy limping in pain in the wilderness is entertaining. However, at the very moment I started to feel bored, it changed direction and kicked it up a notch. I give Bone Tomahawk a solid 8/10 for it's fantastic writing, well-executed horror, and acting performances of a lifetime. Would recommend, at least once.
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10/10
With "Bone Tomahawk", Zahler creates a whole new sub-genre with great success.
alihandemiral10 October 2017
Bone Tomahawk may be classified as a "western gore-horror" - probably the first of its kind, although the superficial plot - four cowboys going on a quest against cannibal Native Americans - is entertaining and original enough, the film is much more than that. The casting is remarkable, especially with Kurt Russell and Matthew Fox; the costume design and the setting does not fall short than the casting. Yet, what makes this movie a critical success is the fusion between the characters and the carefully crafted dialogue. The clever dialogue goes hand in hand with the slow-paced story of the film and enables it to reach to the climax with the action-packed last twenty minutes. The amount of gore in the film is set just right, finding that thin line between over-exaggeration and incompetence. As both a huge horror and spaghetti western fan, I may say "Bone Tomahawk" is one of the most original horror films I've ever seen; Zahler needs to get right back at shooting films!
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8/10
A real gem
Evanoil16 December 2015
Totally recommend this movie for graphic horror titles (not ghost and monsters stuff)lovers and thriller lovers with strong stomachs .This movie starts a bit slow and ends a bit slow but the middle part is so good it doesn't really matter.I cant help but notice that this movie looks a lot like "The hills have eyes" ,the tension is through all of the movie and the storyline leaves you with such a hopeless feeling towards the characters future , it kind of good. as i say , this movie if for graphic horror lovers - there are scenes not for every stomach to see so be advised.THe actors are awesome plus the interesting plot gives this movie a solid high score for my opinion.
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Wyatt Earp meets Cannibal Holocaust!
ericrnolan9 November 2015
Let's get something out of the way first -- "Bone Tomahawk" (2015) isn't only a western. It's a genre-busting ... "horror-western," as other review sites have called it. It pits four protagonists against a tribe of monstrous "cave dwellers" who have kidnapped two people from their tiny frontier town of "Bright Hope." And the results at the movie's end are pretty damned horrifying.

This was superb -- I'd give it a 9 out of 10. "Bone Tomahawk" succeeds in being scary and enjoyable simply because it's a quality film. The script is outstanding, with nuanced, occasionally funny, and ultimately quite likable characters. The four leads -- Kurt Russell, Patrick Wilson, Matthew Fox and Richard Jenkins -- play the diverse quartet perfectly. I could honestly watch another one or two movies about these guys, even without the horror-movie plot device that this flick employs -- and that is coming from a guy that doesn't like westerns.

The directing and cinematography are perfect. And the end of the movie is nerve-shattering, smartly written and satisfying. (Although there is one violent sequence that might make your heart stop. Good lord.)

My only criticisms are very subjective. For one, this movie sometimes felt slow. The exciting horror-movie element that drives the plot is introduced early, but briefly. It is then more than an hour before we arrive at it again, as we follow the four protagonists traveling to an uncharted valley just to reach the bad guys' lair.

For another ... this movie got just a little too dour during its lengthy second act (the trek to the valley where the climax takes place). We see a few sad things, including the fates of innocent people and animals. These punctuate what is literally a painful journey for one of our heroes waging a doomed battle against a horribly wounded leg. Throughout its middle, "Bone Tomahawk" isn't so much of a "scary movie" as it is a slightly depressing movie.

Still, this was fantastic. And if you see it and you really like it, as I did, then spread the word. This flick hasn't gotten the press it deserves.

Quick postscript: watch for David Arquette and none other than Sid Haig in surprise supporting roles! And ... supposedly Sean Young was in this movie, but I'll be damned if I could spot her.
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8/10
Great Horror Western, If Bloody
beorhouse15 November 2017
Warning: Spoilers
When I saw Sid Haig, I nearly didn't watch, and was glad his character was killed in the first few minutes. This one is brutal, folks, so be prepared for serious carnage. If I didn't know Eli Roth didn't direct this film, I'd take it for granted that he did. Still, it's a Western, and the 19th century jargon really makes it.
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8/10
I thought it was interesting but it is a slow burn.
cgpeake30 December 2015
I found the acting to be good, Kurt Russell did well as usual. The movie is a slow burn for the majority, with the third act stepping up a little with the violence.

It did take itself as a serious type of Western, which at first I thought would not work, but ended up being pulled off well. The more time spent into the story, the more serious and horrific situation we actually find the characters are in.

Probably not for everyone, but I found it refreshing, without all the fast paced, CGI induced coma styles that most movies try to impress us with these days. I think older folks of Westerns will appreciate this more than the young crowd.
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8/10
"For a man named Buddy you are not very friendly" (dialog)
A_Different_Drummer28 October 2015
"It's about 9:00 but it feels like next week" (dialog)

This is a film that owes a debt to the 1956 classic The Searchers, a film as much about finding an abductee as it is about the people doing the search.

The "horror" subtheme is merely a bonus, and a fun one at that.

It is not merely an indie, but an "auteur" indie -- that's the classification your reviewer is giving to the large influx of films in the last 24 months where the writer and director are one and the same.

In film history, auteurs by themselves are not a new concept; what IS new and interesting is that, as television in this decade is starting to leapfrog Hollywood in terms of quality and excellence, this new class of artist is taking up the slack by using the proved medium of film as a convenient mechanism to show their stuff and define their aspirations.

Craig Zahler is defining his aspirations with Bone Tomahawk, and it is not a bad start. To make these idies work, you need to get maximum audience connection with the least amount of resources. Zahler achieves that with a tight cast, led by one of my faves, Kurt Russell. I have been watching Kurt since the 1950s - not a misprint -- and his work in Soldier was so good that, if you have not seen it, stop wasting time with this review and go find a copy - NOW. It is also ironic that another of Kurt's best roles was as Wyatt Earp, and here is he is replaying a Marshall but in a different context. Always a pro, never a bad performance.

The direction is fully competent but the script itself is a joy, with many interesting bits of dialog for the discerning ear to discover and enjoy.

Recommended
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10/10
Gritty western/horror hybrid really delivers the goods
Leofwine_draca15 April 2017
Warning: Spoilers
BOME TOMAHAWK is a really good western/horror movie that features exemplary direction from an unknown director and great performances from the small cast. It terms of plot it's nothing special, a 19th century reworking of THE HILLS HAVE EYES, but it's the execution that makes this such a great movie. Despite a two and a quarter hour running time the film is hugely suspenseful and soaked in a gritty, disturbing atmosphere.

I'd heard reports of this being a gore fest but it's no such thing; there are a handful of brutal moments but mainly this is a mood piece. The descent into a kind of hell is reminiscent of the likes of APOCALYPSE NOW and CANNIBAL HOLOCAUST and the every scene is carefully composed to add maximum depth and tension. The desert landscapes look fantastic, and the violence is all the more impactful for being used sparingly.

Cast-wise, Kurt Russell headlines the show and is quite brilliant, as usual; it's nice to see him being used properly after his turn in the lacklustre HATEFUL EIGHT (and boy, Tarantino could sure learn a thing or two from this film). Patrick Wilson does his dedicated everyman performance and is likable with it, and Matthew Fox is a real surprise as the brash and arrogant fellow who gets you on side regardless. Richard Jenkins, as the old timer, somehow keeps the whole thing together. As with the recent MAGNIFICENT SEVEN remake, BONE TOMAHAWK breathes new life into the almost forgotten western genre, making it worthy once more. I can't wait to watch it again.
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Raw, Beautiful & Barbaric, Bone Tomahawk Is A Must For Western & Horror Film Fanatics!
CinemaClown6 December 2015
Blending the ruggedness of westerns with unflinching brutality of horror, Bone Tomahawk is a dark, gritty & sturdy piece of work that's crafted with patience, discipline & determination, is narrated in a very controlled but effective manner, and benefits immensely from its strong cast to succeed as a distinguishing, refreshing & thrilling entry in the weary world of the Old Wild West.

Set at the turn of the 20th century in a small town called Bright Hope, Bone Tomahawk follows four gunslingers who form an unlikely alliance to take a dangerous journey into the dark abyss of the Wild West in order to rescue some people who were abducted by a group of cannibalistic cave dwellers. But as they near their destination, they become more n more aware of their enemy's savage nature.

Written & directed by S. Craig Zahler, Bone Tomahawk marks his directional debut and it's a fabulous start in every manner. The film opens on a callous note after which all the relevant characters are calmly introduced. Zahler then allows the tense, menacing aura to set on its own by unfolding the plot at a relaxed pace without holding back the blood, gore & violence. And the refinements in its technical aspects only enhances the whole experience.

The set pieces, props & deserted locations are very evocative of the timeline its story is set in. Cinematography makes fabulous use of its camera to capture all the action, the images have a sharp clarity to it & lighting is a definite highlight. Editing is concisely carried out but its slow pace may not please everyone. Finally, the background score has a quite brooding vibe to it but it's present only when there is a need of it. But the biggest contribution comes from its cast.

Coming to the performances, Bone Tomahawk features an extremely devoted cast in Kurt Russell, Patrick Wilson, Matthew Fox & Richard Jenkins. Russell is truly a delight to watch as the town's sheriff and saves his character's best moments for the last act. Wilson delivers a physically intense performance and is consistently good throughout its runtime. Fox gets his own moments while Jenkins does well with what he's given. However, what works best for the film is the interplay between these characters, which the four actors are able to pull off amazingly well.

On an overall scale, Bone Tomahawk is an impressive slow-burning cinema that grabs the viewers' attention from its opening moments, packs in a rugged set of characters that are outstandingly portrayed by its highly committed cast, is absolutely remorseless with all its content, is never in a hurry to head towards its action-packed finale, is very accomplished in production value, and becomes all the more admirable when taken into account the fact that it's a debut effort for its writer-director. A must for western & horror film fanatics, Bone Tomahawk is a raw, beautiful & barbaric example of genre filmmaking. Thoroughly recommended.
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10/10
Unapologetically gruesome, authentic horror
aidanmenton8 May 2017
This came up suggested to me on Netflix last night and I really like Kurt Russell (who doesn't' right?) and Patrick Wilson from the Insidious films and of course The Conjuring so I gave it a go. I certainly wasn't disappointed. I had heard it was very long that there was a very long set up etc but that didn't discourage me. Simply put it is fantastic which is rare to say of a Hollywood horror film these days. Highly suspenseful and gut wrenching stuff! It's worth every bit of the prolonged set up. I've seen hundreds of horror movies all my life and I found the gore in this borderline unwatchable. If you are a horror fan this is a MUST SEE film! Easily the best horror film Kurt Russell has done since John Carpenter's The Thing in 1982. This film is darker than The Thing though I would say. The film is dripping in foreboding tension and atmosphere. Very long but so worth it. Don't miss this classic horror film!
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10/10
Spread the word - the scariest, most exciting Western for years
phd_travel10 December 2015
Warning: Spoilers
Wow! This original and very scary Western has set new standards for the genre. The heroism is refreshingly traditional but the tension hasn't been seen before. A group of four men sets off to rescue those who are kidnapped from a cannibalistic tribe in unchartered territory.

The story is very well written with a good balance of heroism, humor and horror. The reason it's so scary is you get to know and like the characters first and want them all to survive. And they are all played by leading actors who look just perfect in their Western get up and often play heroes. When the rescuers go into unchartered territory every minute is suspenseful. The ordeal with Patrick Wilson's injured leg is so effective you can almost cringe along with him in pain. Kurt Russell is in his best Western role since Tombstone - his wise gruff demeanor is just spot on as the sheriff. Matthew Fox is well cast as the elegant but ruthless man with a history with the Indians. Comic relief is provided deputy sheriff played by an unrecognizable Richard Jenkins. The humor throughout is original with some genuinely funny dialog. The supporting cast of women is good too, consisting of Kathryn Morris, Sean Young and Lili Simmons.

The lack of music is unique and turns out to be more effective and gives a realistic feel to the movie compared to old Westerns where there were some overused themes.

There are a few very violent parts but they are part of the story and are relevant to the story. The opening scene and in the cave. The ones in the cave - you know when they are coming so you can cover your eyes and still enjoy 99% of the movie. I haven't been scared in a movie for some time but I was quite terrified in this one. Watch out for anything from this excellent writer director S._Craig_Zahler.
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8/10
Not slow, just building character and context
Paynebyname25 July 2016
I took a punt on this and bought it on Blu Ray without seeing it first. I'd read the reviews warning of it being slow but didn't find it so. To me it was establishing characters in realistic ways.

I like it's attention to real details, the importance of tending your horses, packing food, making sure to rest etc.

I liked all of the 4 main characters but thought Matthew Fox was fabulous. Really enjoyed his performance and portrayal of the character.

A most enjoyable film and people really shouldn't be put off by the warnings of it being slow. If you were okay with the pacing of The American with George Clooney, then you'll have no problems with this.
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8/10
Great writing, great entertainment
Morten_529 July 2017
With Bone Tomahawk, talented debuting director S. Craig Zahler, who's also behind the well-written screenplay, delivers true entertainment.

It's a rare combination of good screen writing, witty dialogues, nice acting, fine direction, great use of Californian locations and a perfect blend of genres, being not only an atmospheric western and a thrilling horror, but also an exciting adventure with proper doses of drama.
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9/10
The Best Western/Horror Film i've Ever seen.
Marwan-Bob9 February 2017
I had added this a while ago to my list but had put it off until a friend recommended I watch it so I pushed it up my list. Think Western Revenge/Rescue posse meets Cannibal Holocaust. It starts off a little slow and stilted, feeling almost play-like in it's manner of delivery and at first I was like oh no, this isn't going to be too good. But then the story ramps up and Kurt Russel enters the film and from that point on there is nothing dull or under-delivered. The violence starts off a little over the top but more hinted at or slightly shown, but by the last 3rd it is insane, cringing, screaming out kind of violence while never loosing site of the story, it's characters or the pacing. Nothing breaks you out of the film either, no moment was so far out there you went yeah right. This is a film done very, very well.
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