Movie Review: "Bone Tomahawk" (2015)
Robert Englund (y'all call him Freddy Krueger) personally recommended this movie to me. No shit. The Fam & I had finally made it to the head of the line at Texas Frightmare Weekend 2016 to meet my childhood idol. However, David Arquette ("Scream") cut in line to say hi to his friend and grab a quick pic. Did I mention that "Deputy Dewey" handed me his cell phone to take said picture? Again......no shit. It was pretty damn awesome.
During the course of this exchange Mr. Englund asked if I had seen "Bone Tomahawk" starring his good friend, Mr. Arquette. I said I had not, and he told me I needed to rectify that. So........I have finally rectified that.
I'm so glad I did.
Do you like Westerns? Do you like balls-out violence and gore? Do you like a cast loaded with genre names in both bit parts and major roles? If you're nodding your fucking head like a lunatic right now then this is the flick for you.
The story begins with a pair of bandits played by David Arquette ("Scream" series) and the amazing Sid Haig ("House of 1000 Corpses", "Spider Baby"). They've pulled off a job and are quite pleased with themselves. Unfortunately, they desecrate an Indian burial ground in their escape. The Indians in question are not pleased. Sorry, Sid.
Cut to the sleepy little town of Bright Hope. We get a peek at the day-to-day humdrum of Sheriff Hunt and his deputy, Chicory (Richard Jenkins of "Cabin in the Woods"). If you're not getting geeked then I should mention that Sheriff Hunt is played by none other than a GOD of the silver screen, Kurt Russell ("Tombstone", "The Thing", "Big Trouble in Little China"). We also meet Arthur O'Dwyer (Patrick Wilson of "The Conjuring"), a rancher convalescing from a broken leg, and his gorgeous wife, Samantha (Lili Simmons of "Westworld"). Ambling about town and generally getting involved in everyone's business is suave pretty boy, Mr. Brooder, played by Matthew Fox ("Lost", "Party of Five"). Blink and you'll miss a cameo by aging 80's goddess Sean Young as the Mayor's bitchy wife. I had to check the IMDB for that one.
Sheriff Hunter is alerted to the presence of a suspicious drifter who was seen burying something outside of town. This leads him to Purvis (Arquette) who is clearly up to no good. Apprehending Purvis turns out to be a pretty bad deal for the town of Bright Hope. Purvis and Mrs. O'Dwyer are taken by a group of cannibalistic savages that even the local Indians are scared shitless of. A posse, led by the Sheriff, set out to rescue the maiden fair.
The plot is standard fare Western stuff. Where this movie excels is in the execution, performances from a veteran cast, & seriously hardcore gore. It hits all of the notes you want out of a good Western- beautiful landscapes contrasted by rough life, solid gunplay, great set design and costumes. And let's face it......shouldn't all good Westerns have Kurt Russell in them? The answer is yes.
But, oh.....the gore. From the gunshots to the scalping to the crotch splitting (yes, I said crotch splitting) to the actual cannibalism it is intense. I don't know how I missed this one. I'm seriously kind of pissed that it took me this long to see it. I pride myself on my knowledge and taste, and this one just drifted right by me.
The cannibalistic, cave-dwelling Indians are the stuff of nightmares for any God-fearing white man. They're inbred. They're cannibals. They're caked in white mud like an Eli Roth wet dream. And what they do to their women when pregnant??? It's dark. I mean really fucking dark. That's coming from me. Let that sink in.
Russell is (as always) amazing as Sheriff Hunt. He was born to play in Westerns. Patrick Wilson is fully believable and nuanced as the husband who will do anything to get his beloved back. Richard Jenkins is a gift to film fans everywhere.....PERIOD. Watch "Cabin in the Woods" and "Step Brothers" if you aren't familiar with him. He is the comic relief and the heart of this gem. Matthew Fox has a great arc as the shitbag, Indian-hunting playboy who turns out to be a pretty solid guy. All around this film are great performances.
I cannot recommend this one enough. Seriously. It's a 9/10 in terms of genre fare.
If you're not going to listen to me then listen to Freddy Krueger. You don't doubt him, do you?