After members of a savage cannibal tribe kidnap some three townsfolk from the nearest village Kurt Russel must assemble a posse to rescue them. However they encounter difficulties along the way including Patrick Wilson’s already damaged leg and a group of vengeful Mexicans.
The Western is continuing to make its comeback and one reason for that I think is the incredible variety of western films on offer. From Tarantino’s claustrophobic thriller The Hateful Eight to the vampire romance of A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night, and now this cannibal horror Bone Tomahawk. Now you may be thinking cannibal horror and the western seem like an odd mix, but apparently they are a match made in heaven. It’s an absolute gory delight.
Bone Tomahawk has two trump cards up its sleeve: its pacing and the shocking grotesqueness of the violence. It’s a very steadily paced movie which draws out one rescue mission over the course of most of the film. It takes it’s time with the setup, pausing to eat corn chowder and let you get to know the characters. While this technique recently greatly hindered The Hateful Eight’s first half I think it really works here. Now, I’m not usually very squeamish when it comes to gore, but certain acts in Bone Tomahawk had me turning away and hiding under my hand. The final scene in the cave is incredibly difficult to watch, but even more difficult to listen to. You can’t escape the brutality, because even if you avert your eyes the sound effect will creep into your ears.
It’s not going to change the world and it doesn’t have anything really to say beyond “hey look at this western-cannibal horror crossover” but sometimes it’s nice to have a film that doesn’t need to say anything profound. It is what it is and I really enjoyed it.