Movie Review: Bone Tomahawk (2015)


Bone Tomahawk is a 2015 Western/horror(ish) film released in 2015. After a pair of bumbling thieves attack some resting men at their campsite, they accidentally disturb an Indian burial ground, and the natives are none too happy. Some days later, one of the thieves arrives in the town of Bright Hope and is taken in by Sherriff Franklin Hunt (Kurt Russell) and his deputy, Chicory (Richard Jenkins) along with John Brooder (Matthew Fox). Samantha O’Dwyer (Lili Simmons) is called on, due to her medical experience, and she leaves her broken-legged husband Arthur (Patrick Wilson) to go and check on her patient.

+ all of the main actors (Russell as Sheriff Hunt, Wilson as injured O’Dwyer, Jenkins as deputy Sheriff Chicory and Fox as womanizer Brooder) are great as their characters. Sheriff Hunt in particular is just such a nice guy it is hard to see anything bad happen. Similarly, Fox’s John Brooder is just such a smarmy ass it is difficult to feel sorry for him
+ although brief and used relatively sparingly, the film is punctuated by some incredible, intense violence. These scenes go from zero to one hundred in only seconds, and then return to normal just as quickly. This leaves the vulgar images in your brain as the characters themselves are forced to move on

– the plot is kind of bare-bones, hilarious pun definitely intended. Basically it surmounts to ‘dude wants his wife back from savage natives’, and it never really goes anywhere from there
– the film is over two hours long, which meant it was not ideal for a late Sunday viewing. I get the feeling this was intended to be a (perhaps) Inglorious Basterds sort of film, but it never really had the urgency to it, or suspenseful dialogue

> Patrick Wilson has been in a fair few horror/supernatural movies as of late, including Insidious and The Conjuring. Maybe he is carving himself a new little niche?

Should you see this film: I have been tossing and turning about whether this is worth watching for a few days, and the answer, unfortunately, is no. It is long winded, very erratic in tone and pacing, and overall not all that scary. A few great performances don’t do enough for an otherwise, to be quite honest, boring film.

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