Bone Tomahawk (4/10)

Bone Tomahawk

May the Lord have mercy and grant you a swift death


Four men set out in the Wild West to rescue a group of captives from cannibalistic cave dwellers.

Title Bone Tomahawk
Director S. Craig Zahler
Director of Photography Benji Bakshi
Runtime 2 h 12 min
Certification R
Release Date 23 October 2015
Tagline May the Lord have mercy and grant you a swift death
IMDb Id tt2494362

I’ll admit that I haven’t been a big fan of the growing set of genre cross-over movies of the last decade. Movies such as Cowboys and Aliens, American Ultra and even Zombieland always turn out to be disappointing. Bone Tomahawk more than disappoints; it is a bad movie.

Blending western and horror in itself doesn’t necessarily seem that impossible or undesirable. It’s just that it appears first time Director S. Craig Zahler, who also wrote the script, wasn’t the man for the job. He manages to get very little from a very strong cast.

Patrick Wilson plays Arthur, whose wife gets captured by cannibalistic natives, which forms the heart of the story as they try to find and free her. Kurt Russel plays Sherrif Hunt, a type he pulls off very easily and credibly, who leads the search party. His back-up deputy Chicory is well acted by Richard Jenkins. And Matthew Fox visibly has fun playing Brooder, a trigger-happy dandy.

But the story is slow. Not in a slow burn kind of way, just slow. Too slow. When it does start to burn, Zahler manages to let things drag on so long that the little flame extinguishes again. The bad guys are never more than that: we don’t get to see any of their side of the story, probably since they don’t even seem to be able to speak, they are mere one-dimensional cave-dwelling cannibals there as an excuse for the search party side of the story and a few thrills here and there.

But the search party’s side of the story isn’t very exciting either. There is some tension between Brooder and Arthur, but not enough to carry the story. So it is just a slow search, with a few scenes of interest along the way, and generally good acting, followed by yet more long scenes of the party making its way through the desert, silently walking or sleeping…

When the two sides finally meet, it still doesn’t ignite the fire a whole lot. The action is terribly flat, there are a few scenes for shock value (one in particular everyone will remember if you do watch this movie) but they seem isolated and misplaced.

It is just a poorly directed movie. The pacing is off, and when there are scenes of interest or action, they are cut so poorly that they miss their potential impact. A waste of a decent cast.

Skip it: 4/10.


Bone Tomahawk (4/10)
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