Scott Everett White
Chris Nashawaty
October 22, 2015 at 07:28 PM EDT

Bone Tomahawk

type
Movie
Current Status
In Season
mpaa
Unrated
runtime
132 minutes
Wide Release Date
10/23/15
performer
Kurt Russell, Patrick Wilson, Matthew Fox, Richard Jenkins, Lili Simmons
director
S. Craig Zahler
genre
Horror, Western
We gave it a B

Strange happenings are afoot in the frontier town of Bright Hope. A murderous drifter shows up, a stable boy is killed in grisly fashion, and a trio of hostages are whisked off in the cloak of night by a bizarre tribe of cave-dwelling savages with a sweet tooth for human flesh. That’s right, first-time writer-director S. Craig Zahler’s luridly titled tale is none other than a cannibal Western—and a pretty decent one at that, thanks to a stellar cast that includes Kurt Russell as a gruff sheriff with a Yosemite Sam mustache, Richard Jenkins as his rambling backup deputy, Matthew Fox as the town dandy with a bloody history with the Indians, and Patrick Wilson, whose wife was one of the abducted. As this ragtag posse saddles up to save her and mete out scrub-brush justice, the film can’t help but take on a Searchers vibe (albeit with John Ford’s grandeur replaced with B-movie gore). The first hour and a half or so are full of character moments with surprising depth, but they’re also a bit slow going. The film really picks up the pace from trot to gallop when the rescue party arrives at the pasty cannibals’ hillside lair, and we finally get a chance to witness the captors putting their titular weapon of choice to crunchy use. I doubt there’s a huge audience for a movie like Bone Tomahawk, but those who find it may turn it into a new cult classic. B

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