BONE TOMAHAWK (director/writer: S. Craig Zahler; cinematographer: Benji Bakshi; editors: Greg D’Auria, Fred Raskin; music: Jeff Herriott, S. Craig Zahler; cast: Kurt Russell (Sheriff Hunter, Lili Simmons (Mrs. Samantha O’Dwyer), Patrick Wilson(Arthur), Richard Jenkins (Chicory), Matthew Fox (John Brooder), Evan Jonigkeit (Deputy Nick ), Kathryn Morris (Lorna Hunt), Sid Haig (Buddy), David Arquette (Purvis), Fred Melamed (Clarence), Sean Young (Mrs. Porter), Michael Pare (Mr. Wallington), Geno Segers (Boar Tusks), James Tolkan (Pianist), Jeremy Tardi (Buford), Zahn McClarnon (Tall Trees); Runtime: 133; MPAA Rating: NR; producers: Jack Heller, Dallas Sonnier; Image Entertainment; 2015)
“It’s not your Roy Rogers western.”
Reviewed by Dennis Schwartz
An offbeat gory Old West cowboy themed debut feature for novelist turned director-writer S. Craig Zahler. As a posse rescue film it has its bloody thrilling moments, but goes on for too long and the action eventually becomes tiresome. It’s an unusual cult western, not for all types, as it artfully blends together a western with a horror film.
A group of cannibal savages kidnap three settlers from the sleepy small town of Bright Hope for their dinner and to revenge that one of them violated their sacred burial grounds. The vics include the doctor Samantha O’Dwyer (Lili Simmons), the elderly jail guard Nick (Evan Jonigkeit) and a small-time outlaw, the one who upset the Indians by violating their ancestral gravesite, Purvis (David Arquette). The world-weary Sheriff Franklin Hunt (Kurt Russell) goes after the ruthless kidnappers with a posse that includes the Doc’s injured cowpoke husband Arthur (Patrick Wilson), his bumbling deputy Chicory (Richard Jenkins) and a hubris-filled Indian-hunter named Brooder (Matthew Fox).
The first part has only hints of the violence to come, but it’s filled with clever dialogue. When it turns ugly, it turns real ugly. That includes graphically violent kills with arrows and hatchets. By the final reel you might as well call it a splatter film. It’s not your Roy Rogers western. But it’s a western, I think, and I like westerns, even if they sometimes, like this one, stray too far from the ranch.
REVIEWED ON 1/3/2016 GRADE: B-
Dennis Schwartz: “Ozus’ World Movie Reviews”
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