16th March 2016

Review: Bone Tomahawk

Bone Tomahawk is a fantastically well shot and acted film, but fails to deliver on its attempts at horror

Bone Tomahawk, written and directed by Craig Zahler, tells the story of a little town confronted to the horror lurking in the nearby mountains, in the American frontiers at the beginning of the 20th century. The Sheriff (Kurt Russell), an over protective husband (Patrick Wilson), one of the deputies (Richard Jenkins) and a veteran of the frontier (Mathew Fox), depart on a quest to rescue the husband’s wife (Lili Simmons), a depute (Evan Jonigkeit) and a “bushwhacker” (Sid Haig) abducted by a cannibalistic tribe of natives whose burial grounds was disturbed by the said bushwhacker.

This movie is well served by its impeccable photographic quality and actors, which perfectly captured the simplicity of the American Wild West. This maintains the viewer interested by the landscapes as the pace of the story may be considered too slow to some others. This becomes even more problematic due to the failure of this movie to deliver on the horror side of the story. The Indian tribe—though interesting in its concept of utter savagery and absence of humanity—is not developed enough and will fail to scare the vast majority. Its violent culture, though implied, is hardly ever shown and will barely impress those used to the gore of a zombie movie or a horror feature.

The camera—which remains of a stellar quality—participates in the waste of such potential and talent as it could have given the viewer a true sense of dread and the sensation of being watched. The films actors and their great performances as colourful and believable characters—not fully understanding the abominations on whose realm they are about to trespass on—only save the movie.

That, as a conclusion, can be considered a great documentary on the Wild West but alas, a failure as a horror movie—though it had the potential. I do recommend watching this film, not as rescue mission turned journey through horror—but as a simple one.


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