Sunday, October 25, 2015

Scary Movie Month 2015 Day 25: Bone Tomahawk

Bone Tomahawk 

It feels like it's practically a spoiler just to list this western as a Scary Movie Month entry, but I'm running with it because when it gets horrific it does not pull any punches. Come to think of it, it opens pretty horrifically too, with David Arquette and Sid Haig robbing the bodies of a group of people they just murdered. As they do so they encounter a tribe of monstrous savages (to use the parlance of the movie) which starts a chain of events that leads sheriff Kurt Russell to hunt down the mysterious, possibly supernatural tribe. 

The majority of the movie is a straightforward western with Russell, deputy Richard Jenkins, cowboy Patrick Wilson, and dangerous dandy Matthew Fox tracking down the savages in order to save Wilson's wife and Russell's other deputy, kidnapped by the tribe. The dialogue during this section of the movie is pretty great, with the ragtag group of trackers building a rapport as they get deeper and deeper into unknown territory. Jenkins in particular gets to be funny without ever being the butt of the joke, which would have been an easy trap for a lesser movie to fall into. 

Russell is excellent (as if that's any sort of surprise) and centers the movie with charm and a clear sense of righteousness. He knows the danger he's heading into, but he doesn't shirk his duties for a second. When things take a turn for the horrific (and boy do they), character still comes first and every member of the hunting party acts according to their character, making them feel like fleshed-out people, not like constructs acting out the whims of a screenwriter. 

Not content with being just a damn solid, satisfying horror movie, this is also one of the best westerns to come along in some time, completely deserving of the talent and mustache Russell brings to it. Alternately funny, suspenseful, and haunting, it's kind of a shame this is playing limited/VOD because it would have played wonderfully in a theater. Even at home it's completely absorbing, but it would have been nice to have the chance to see it on the big screen. Get it together, audiences. This is exactly the kind of original movie we complain about not getting anymore as we file into the latest Transformers-branded noise factory. 

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