I had no idea this 2015 modern cult classic existed, so I’m betting many of you haven’t heard of it either.
Bone Tomahawk is an authentic take on the gritty Western, but mashes in horror elements to provide a unique movie experience. The horror will alienate some, but it wasn’t too shocking for the mostly mainstream movie fans I watched it with.
Where the film triumphs are the rock solid character motivations. It constantly raises the stakes, placing characters in peril, but always providing a plausible reason for them to continue into danger. The plot centers around a Sheriff and three cowboys heading off on a dangerous rescue mission. The danger is established early, and the characters all have their reasons for acting heroic in the face of this seemingly suicidal mission.
From the opening moments, characters act how you would expect humans to act, deal with plausible consequences, and react accordingly. Clothes and teeth are dirty when they need to be, and Kurt Russel’s Sheriff character has an especially great early scene that depicts his investigative skills
Who made this?
S. Craig Zahler is credited as Director, Screenwriter, and co-composer for Bone Tomahawk. His last film was 2011’s The Incident (screenwriter) and before that he only had Cinematography credits for two features and two shorts.
His novel A Congregation of Jackals was nominated for two major western writing awards The Spur and The Peacemaker. His script for The Brigands of Rattleborge was #1 on The Black List (for unproduced screenplays).
Who is it for?
This is a very well made movie with hardly any flaws. While I found its climax and last third not as compelling as the first 2/3, it remained an exciting watch with unique elements. This kind of mashup won’t please everyone but I can highly recommend this to fans of tense film-making and an open mind to genre-bending.
Have you seen it? Let me know what you think.