Movie Review: Bone Tomahawk

I just finished watching Bone Tomahawk, the second Kurt Russell western that I have watched in as many days. But unlike The Hateful Eight, this movie blended the western genre with the world of horror and suspense. That is a twist that is not done too often and when it is done, it is usually not that great. But Bone Tomahawk managed to integrate the two genres pretty well to make a good finished product.

Kurt Russell stars as Sheriff Hunt, the lawman of a small, peaceful western town. After he arrested a mysterious drifter (played by David Arquette), he calls on the local doctor to take care of a bullet wound to the drifter’s leg. But during the night, the sheriff’s office is attacked and the doctor, a deputy, and the drifter are abducted.

After they are kidnapped, Sheriff Hunt informs the doctor’s husband, Arthur O’Dwyer (Patrick Wilson) and they discover that the kidnappers are a group of cannibalistic cave dwellers. Then, Sheriff Hunt and Arthur, along with the town’s backup deputy Chicory (Richard Jenkins) and the educated John Brooder (Matthew Fox), take the journey to search for the missing parties.

Bone Tomahawk really blended the old westerns that fans remember with a touch of horror brilliantly. In a contrast to my review of The Hateful Eight, this movie had very little music at all and it gave me a sense of the isolation that the characters must have felt. These four men took a multiple day trip and were not completely sure what they were going up against. The lack of music and just hearing the environmental sounds added a haunting element to the film.

The cast of Bone Tomahawk was also superb. Kurt Russell was as good as you would expect. Patrick Wilson (The Conjuring) was great as Arthur, a man who not only has a badly broken leg, but a man who now has to travel on that leg in hopes of finding his wife. Matthew Fox (Lost) was very good in role of Brooder, a womanizing smart-ass who oversteps his boundaries on occasion but is dedicated to the mission to the end. Jenkins (Step Brothers) also shined as the old and trustworthy deputy Chicory. Adding to the main cast was supporting performances by David Arquette, Sid Haig, and Lili Simmons as the kidnapped Doctor O’Dwyer.

While the movie was very good, there were still some negatives though. First, and foremost, was the runtime. Clocking in at 2 hours and 12 minutes, the movie seemed to drag by at times. I think losing maybe about 30 minutes may have helped the pacing of the film. My second complaint is that the film could have used a few more scares on their journey. Neither the weather or any wildlife really affected their trip and that could have added another layer of danger to an already dangerous trek.

And last but not least, I personally was a little let down by the finish of the movie. I won’t go into detail as to not spoil anything, but I just felt let down that the movie ended the way it did after sitting there for over two hours. But that may just be my opinion. Overall, the movie was average, but worth the view however.

Daryl Karpinski, Jr.