October 28, 2015

VOD Review: Bone Tomahawk (2015)

Kurt Russell is a legend.

From being a child star in Disney films, to being John Carpenter's go-to actor, he starred in more movies that are both great, and that we love enough to watch over and over again, than any other actor that we can think of: Escape from New York, The Thing, Big Trouble in Little China, Tombstone, Soldier, Dark Blue, Miracle... and those are just the ones that we pull off of the shelf and watch the most often.

So as much as we love the guy, when we heard that he was to star in a Horror Western -in which he would be tracking down a bunch of troglodyte cannibals- we were all in.

When an idjit criminal defiles the sacred ground of a tribe of savage cannibals, he hightails it out of there and heads for the small frontier town of Bright Home, which, as it turns out, is quite poorly named. The cannibals give chase, because they want to kill and eat the interloper, and when they catch up to him, they take him, along with a few of the town's residents, back to their cave to be dinner.

When Sheriff Franklin Hunt gets wind of this, he and three other men set out to confront the savages, and rescue their people. Included in the posse are a cold-blooded gunfighter; a guy with a broken leg; and a "not quite right in the head" Back-up Deputy. They're underdogs, folks.

As they track the cannibals across the harsh and forgiving countryside, they are attacked by banditos; have their horses stolen; and the gimp breaks his leg even worse than it was to start. With all of these issues, I'm not really sure how in the hell this mission is ever is going to work, but the Sheriff and the gunfighter are probably going to have to do most of the heavy lifting.

Dang-nabbed savagery and cannibalism ensues.

There aren't a lot of Horror Westerns out there (at least not good ones), and of the ones that come to mind, The Burrowers, Ravenous, and Dead Birds are probably the best of them. A small production with a relatively meager budget, Bone Tomahawk can comfortably slide onto that "Best of" list with relative ease. Above all else, it's a great Western, but when the Horror elements finally do stand up and take over, things get pretty nasty, pretty quick.

Kurt Russell is a bad-ass in this one. Not a Wyatt-Earp-in-Tombstone level of bad-ass, but his Sheriff Hunt still provided plenty of moments of Old West bravado. The incomparable Richard Jenkins was endearing as hell as "Back-up" Deputy Chicory; the banter between he and the Sheriff made the movie in a lot of ways, and was equal parts funny and sweet. They were a hell of a duo.

We also have to give a tip of our hats to Matthew Fox, who played the cold-hearted gunslinger, Brooder. There wasn't alot to like about him as a person, but damn he was cool, and just as bad-ass as Kurt Russell's Sheriff was.

There were also plenty of cameos in this one too from the likes of Sid Haig (Devil's Rejects), Michael Pare (Streets of Fire), Sean Young (Bladerunner), and Jamison Newlander (Lost Boys.) Great cast overall.

As enjoyable as this one is, it's not without some flaws. First off, it could have been a bit shorter. It plays just fine at its current 140+ minute runtime, but in all honesty, they could have trimmed a good 15-20 minutes off of the beginning of the movie, and it would have probably been better off for it. A residual effect of that long runtime, is that there are stretches of the movie that tend to drag a bit. For some, that might be a mood-killer.

We also really wanted Zahn McClarnon to have a bigger role. When he walked on-screen, we were like "Yes! He's going to lead them to the cannibal's lair, and help them get the townsfolk back!" But then he didn't, and that bummed us out. If you've seen him on Longmire, you know how cool that could have been.

I think to truly enjoy this movie, you have to really enjoy Westerns. There's an awful lot of moseying down the trail in this one, and while some of it can seem a bit "uneventful," it's the interaction between the characters that make it all worthwhile. Plus, the bloody deaths at the end were pretty great too.

Bone Tomahawk is a tiny little movie that cost about $1.8 million to make, so it's safe to assume that no one got a huge payday on this one. This is exactly the kind of little movie that needs and deserves our support however, so if it sounds like something that you'd dig, then don't hesitate to support it.


Bone Tomahawk is available now on VOD, and in Limited Theaters.


Lili Simmons is probably the hottest Old West Doctor that has ever existed.


  1. I'm all in for ANYTHING with Kurt (My favorite flic is Tombstone; but that was awesome for more than Kurt...that movie is gold!) You know what ol' Jack Burton always says at a time like this? ha! He is greatness!

  2. This movie may have had Kurt Russel in it, but the star of the show was Patrick Wilson.
    I'm actually surprised that you didn't really mention him at all. After seeing him in Watchmen and Insidious, he is one of my favorite new people. He was the one I was rooting for the whole time. Well anyway, that's my 2 cents.

  3. Loved this one & I agree that it would have been even better if Zahn McClarnon had a bigger role to play. He should have his own Longmire spin-off...

    1. He really is great on Longmire, isn't he?

      Netflix just ordered Season 5 for Longmire, so we'll at least get to see more of him there.

  4. I liked this a lot. Westerns are kinda drawn out to living in a semi-barren civilisation, so lots of wandering on dusty plains goes in hand in hand. Fucking ouch on the foot chop.

  5. That gore scene at the end is really well made and one of the most cruel ever seen...brrrrrrr. no gore section? Great review, full of old flicks advice. Thanx mate

    1. Only do a "Gore" section on full reviews. This was a quickie.

  6. I had been waiting forever it seems for this one. Kurt stars in just about everyone of my childhood favorites. It's strange watching your heroes age but I must say he wore this role well. I really enjoyed the mood of the film although watching Wilson's cowboy hobble for half hour made me a little twitchy. I'm glad the director let him redeem himself and his "manhood" in his sex scene(Watchmen). Kurt's acting in the final scenes actually caused my eye to liquify. Richard Jenkins has got the whole "round your elbow to ass" thing down pat. Nice one.

  7. It really is strange watching your heroes age, but it's nice to see that a guy like Kurt Russell can still kick ass and be a great as he's always been, if not as young.

    Liquify? We wouldn't know anything about that. Especially during the last scene in Tombstone, where Doc and Wyatt say goodbye. Nope, didn't happen to us.

    Damn Kurt Russell! :)

  8. okay, I must be losing my mind. I saw this when it hit VOD a few weeks ago and I SWEAR that the cannibal tribe weren't human. I felt like they were supernatural or demons or something like that. From what I remember, there was no blood when they got shot and when dude gets his toes cut off there was no blood either. Seemed like "dust" keep coming out everytime they got shot or cut and that made me think they were "from beyond" somewhere. Did anyone else feel this way at all cause from what I can tell, I'm the only one and it's driving me insane.

    1. It was just you!

      In all fairness though, they didn't look very human in the trailers.

    2. I'm gonna have to rewatch it. Once the Blu Ray is out I'm definitely buying it so I'll see what the hell I was thinking.

    3. Also, I never saw any of the trailers so I don't what the hell is going on in my brain.

  9. This movie is exelent, I enjoy every single minute of it, from the clasic western parts to the extrange and gory creepe parts, love the interaction betwen the characters,the only kind of downlow for me was the end, but all and all its one of my favorites at the time.

  10. A GOOD story line without all the blood and gore overuse of guns and bombs, killing just to kill for the movie to have blood and gore so you will keep glued to the screen Great movie!! I will watch it again I am sure. Recommend to you if you like a great western with a good story line.