A snappily-scripted one-act, a rugged western, or a white-knuckle horror flick? There's some obvious conflict between these disparate but solid parts, and visually, it's drab. Yet, "Bone Tomahawk" is such an intriguing cocktail, it's impossible to be dismissive of it. I admired its attention to immediate details, great characters, and stomach-churning visual effects.
Slow moving mix of western and horror that features excellent performances but many hallmarks of a first time director that diminish the results. Poorly paced and shabbily edited the films first 3/4 drags along and then devolves into a gore fest in the final quarter. Worth a look for the turns by Russell, Wilson and Jenkins. Over-rated by some.
WHAT THE FUCK DID I JUST WATCH (Edit: ok so, the pacing is awful, the story is senseless, the cinematography is bland and the characters are... well, actually, the characters are kind of good, but that's really the only thing saving this movie from total catastrophe).
Kurt Russell and Richard Jenkins are on fine form as a frontier town Sheriff and his 'Backup Deputy' in this refreshing (but ultra-violent) Western. Although it is slightly let down by a 'TV movie' look, that's more than made up for by a sharp script full of small character touches - e.g. the pianoforte player's eccentric tariff, and Chicory's non-sequiturs about reading in the bath and memories of a flea circus.
Deputy: "Beware, you speak to the law, you ain't boss here". Man: "No, I'm just the smartest. Sheriff & O'Dwyer got a wife & you're a widower". Deputy: "What's that gotta do with it?" "Man: "Smart men don't get married" == "Attention, tu parles à la loi, t'es pas le boss ici" "Non, je suis juste le plus malin. Le Shérif est marié, O'Dwyer aussi & toi t'es veuf" "Quel est le rapport?" "Les gars futés ne s'marient pas"
Suffers immeasurably from being placed in the hands of a first time hack director. Blocking, exposition, and internal rhythm of individual scenes are either inert or wildly off. Production design is embarrassing (intentionally?). Some good actors, sure, but Patrick Wilson and Lili Simmons absolutely do not belong in the movie's world. Only thing going for it is the Grand Guignol stuff, which will appeal to fanboys.
It was almost a really good movie, but the gore was excessive and distracted from how good the storyline was. Next time, Zahler should spend less time showing us how gory he can be and more time on how well he can write his characters. Aside from that, I'm a sucker for Kurt Russell, so I enjoyed watching him as the sheriff.
despite sticking to the status quo of westerns being problematic (did you really have to make a manifest destiny joke after having a white man kill a mexican man?), as a horror film it works pretty well. very effective at building suspense and i appreciate how it delivers its scares directly and matter-of-factly instead of sensationally. hits harder than it would otherwise because of its straightforwardness.
(*spolier) A slow first half with some clunky dialogue gradually gives way to a sense of awful foreboding and the last 30 minutes are riveting - thanks in large part to the set design of the cave and Kurt Russell's stoic performance. For all it's supposed bravery and willingness to show graphic violence, the fact that the Dr. escapes unmolested is a cop out. These are great villains.
****1/2. This is really but really good. The director will undoubtedly belong to the circle of the major American directors in a few years. He knows how to create an atmosphere, he knows how to surprise his audience and he knows how to film a landscape. Now does he already know what he has to tell us? I don't know. Strongly recommended.