Sunday, November 1, 2015

Screaming Sunday - Bone Tomahawk

By Sati. Sunday, November 1, 2015 , ,
Movie rating - 85/100
Plot:  In the Old West, a sheriff (Kurt Russell), his deputy (Richard Jenkins), a gunslinger (Matthew Fox),and a cowboy (Patrick Wilson) embark on a mission to rescue three people from a savage group of cave dwellers.
The heroes: Our brave rescue party of four (whoever gets that reference gets the rest of my Halloween candy).
The antagonists: The cannibalistic tribe of Indians, who are not only outnumbering our heroes but are also completely ruthless and have some sort of bone stuck in their throats so they can emit the call that is seriously creepy as fuck.
Best scene: The whole film is a string of best scenes, really.
Oh-oh something's not right line: You have no chance against any number of them.
What makes it so great? I am strangely not big a fan of western ever though my second favorite show of all time (Deadwood) and one of my all time favorite westerns (The Assassination of Jesse James) come from this genre. But I am a huge fan of horror. So when, as soon as this movie hit VOD, there were many raves and positive reviews for this and I saw it stars Richard Jenkins, an actor who simply never fails, I decided to watch it and what a good decision it was.

The film is a perfect blend of western and horror - it spends 3/4 of its running time following the western formula - letting us get familiar with the feel of the film, the location, the pace and most of all get used to and really like the main four heroes, who with no regard for the safety of their own, go on perhaps suicide mission to rescue the people taken by the enemy. There are no doubts whether they should go - they just go, which already makes us admire them for their bravery.

So when in the final 1/4 of the film the movie switches to full blown horror, it's really shocking, but very important thing here - it is not jarring. The horror shares the same setting as western and there is nothing supernatural about it. We really care about these four man and everything that happens to them is so affecting. The film really holds no punches and a happy ending for everyone involved is out of the question. The script is strong and unique but it is the incredible performances - from everyone other than Lili Simmons, playing Wilson's wife - that really make an impression.

Kurt Russell brings so much heart to his character here, playing a good-hearted and courageous sheriff. Patrick Wilson, who I usually find kinda bland, is very impressive and his part required a lot of physical acting which he was very good in. Richard Jenkins is obviously fantastic as slightly dim-witted but totally lovable sheriff's right hand but the biggest fuck you haters in years that I've seen is from Matthew Fox who completely stole the show as ladies man and Indian hunter John Brooder. He is just amazing. The role was originally going to go to Timothy Olyphant who would be a great choice too, but there is a certain dandiness to Fox that just works so well here. Also damn, does the script works well for him - if you didn't shed tears for Saucy you are a fuckin' monster.

The film also has a great amount of humour, but not Tarantino kind of humour - just good old fashion funny lines ("Why are you so determined to read literature while takin' a bath?") or a simple situation humour and none of it is mean spirited. There is also a great deal of heart here and the sense of support and camaraderie between the heroes. It all makes what happens later more affecting. And then there is cinematography - for the film that cost 1.8 mln $ and was shot in 21 days, this is a god damn work of art.
Scare factor: - 4/5 evil pumpkins - The jump scares are not present here - but you will have to look far for something scarier than practically silent and very sudden appearance of Indians on the screen right before the massacre or a fight to the death occurs. Also one shouldn't think too much about what it must have been to be in a cage like that. What is in fact the scariest thing here is that it is entirely possible that things like that happened back then all the time
Gore factor:- 5/5 bloody Leatherfaces - There is almost no gore until the last 1/4 of the film, but when it rains, it pours. If you didn't look away during one particular scene - and those who watched it don't even need me to point out which scene I'm referring to - you are one badass motherfucker.
Is there a twist? No, it's good old fashioned rescue/suicide mission. What we assume is at the end of that road, is in fact at the end of that road.
Unsuitable for: Those who don't handle gore well.
Repercussions: You can't unsee that scene. You just can't. There is no amount of cute dogs videos and Tom Hardy interviews you can watch that will make you unsee that fucking scene.

25 comments:

  1. Oh I just read this at Keith's blog and he said there are some truly bloody scenes that's probably too intense for me. Glad you love this as well, Margaret, but probably not something I'm keen in watching.

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    1. It's almost too intense for me girl! so yeah unless you watch it with someone who knows when to fastforward I don't think you'd like it :(

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  2. I almost disregarded this film completely but I've read Keith's review and now yours, and I REALLY want to give it a watch now! It just sounds so different to what I've been watching lately. Great review!
    - Allie

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    1. Thank you! Hope you can take the occasional gore :)

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  3. I agree with Jenna and Allie. Now I'm intrigued, I must watch it... By the way, I just read your post about What We Do in the Shadows and it was great, I just wrote about it in my blog (wich I encourage you to visit):

    www.artbyarion.blogspot.com

    I hope you enjoy my review, and please feel free to leave me a comment over there or add yourself as a follower (or both), and I promise I'll reciprocate.

    Cheers,

    Arion.

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    1. Thank you, I'll definitely check it out!

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  4. Oooooh yes...THAT scene. You truly can't "unsee" it. This movie came completely out of the blue. Glad to read you got a kick out of it too.

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    1. Oh I absolutely loved it. I'm sure it is gonna remain in my top 10 of the year

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  5. Okay, I'd better check this out. You convinced me. lol

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    1. I just hope it won't be too gory for you!

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  6. YESSSSSSSS!

    I avoided this review until I posted my own (which I did...thirty seconds ago), but Sait, we are totally on the same f--king page I can't stand it. This movie is so perfectly badass it makes me hate movies that I used to like. Like, they just got shittier.

    While I slightly disagree about Wilson, f--k it. Jenkins is hysterical (and sweet) and Russell commands the screen. But, holy shit....Fox. His is one of my favorite characters of the last decade. With each scene Brooder becomes that much more fascinating.

    Thank you sooo much for the recommendation. I think I'm going to become a full on VOD whore now. F--k all these shitty theatrical releases I drag myself to. I need more like this.

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    1. I'm so psyched that you liked this so much! It's insane it didn't have bigger theatrical release, the critics reviews for it are quite excellent and the 4 main guys are well known. Well in any case it's a great joy for me to recommend this movie to people, it's really a gem

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  7. God I loved this movie. One of the best films of 2015, by a long margin I'd say. Even if they hadn't had the gore at the end, this still would have been an awesome film, Western or not. But yeah, I'm not gonna be drinkin' whisky again in a hurry.

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    1. So glad that so many people liked that one! This really is a gem

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  8. Well F@#$, I obviously need to excuse the family from the residence for a few hours and indulge in this. A Western Horror film...with this cast...and a scene that I have no clue what it is when apparently will scar my eyeballs...I'm in!

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    1. It's amazing, really. You have lots of catching up to do!

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  9. Loved this write up! A horror western eh? Never heard of that combo before!

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    1. Yeah, it's very unusual! But it made for an awesome movie

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    2. I'll have to add it to The List. Sounds like a great flick!

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    3. I hope you'll get a chance to see it!

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  10. Yeah, count me in on this one, Sati. I hear nothing but great things surrounding this one. It's always great to hear Jenkins praised as well. You're the only other blogger that I hear praising this man's talents as I do. He's a real class act.

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    1. Jenkins seriously elevates every single movie he is in. He manages to be brilliant even in crap like Eat Pray Love and that's saying something.

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  11. Great post! This film came out of nowhere, but it's SO good. Great to see Kurt Russell in a role like this, which is more reserved than his one in The Hateful Eight.

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    1. Russell was fantastic here, I much preferred it to his role in H8 though he is also very good there. So glad so many people saw and enjoyed this movie!

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  12. This is just a great movie - the writing, cast, and concept are all really well done.
    A great reminder of just why Kurt Russell is a great actor that can do action.
    Sure the plot is a little contrived and just a little predictable, but if you can buy into the premise, you'll find it suspenseful and effective.

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