Todd Gaines’s review published on Letterboxd:
The Doctor has been kidnapped. Her husband, the injured Cowboy, is beyond grief. The Cowboy's best friend, the Gentleman, volunteers to go and bring her back. Who's leading the rescue? Well, that would be the Sheriff and the Deputy. Who kidnapped the Doctor? Let's say the kidnappers like to dress in white chalk, make funny sounding noises, shoot folks with bow and arrows, and eat dinner like they're Hannibal Lecter. Sounds yummy, right? From the opening shot, Bone Tomahawk, grabs you by the throat tight, and cuts your jugular. It's a western, with some elements of the supernatural, set in the 1890's. Led by an all star cast featuring the ageless Kurt Russell, the charming Richard Jenkins, the surprisingly awesome Matthew Fox, and the bold Patrick Wilson; Bone Tomahawk might just be the best movie you haven't seen of 2015.
Did you ever play Cowboys and Indians growing up? I did! It was always fun, no matter if I was a Cowboy or an Indian. Bone Tomahawk, is one big game of Cowboys and Indians. But, the Cowboys are kinda bootleg, and the Indians are a steroid version of Papa Shango meets the devilish darkside. The Trogs are scary motherfuckers. (Imagine when Christopher Columbus sailed the ocean blue, if he met theses guys) I don't want to give away too much about the Trogs, but I'll say this: They ain't really Native Americans, and I like how we didn't see a lot of them until the last act. You feel something is seriously fucked up, but you don't know exactly what, and that leads to the suspense.
So, what about the good guys? The cast, and the atmosphere (cinematography and musical score) feel very Coen Brothers-esque. I love the minimal use of music. It's always used at the right times, and each instrument is perfectly tuned. So slight, yet so important. Some of the scenes, feel like an episode of Fargo: 1892. (That's a compliment.) Maybe, it's the fact, Patrick Wilson and the cool as fuck Indian fella from the Fargo tv series, have roles in this? But, like a Coen Bros or QT movie, it's like every person with dialogue matters. From the opening with Captain Spaulding and Deputy Dewey, to the hot Amish chic from Banshee, to fuckin' Kurt Russell playing in another Western, to Sean Young playing a slightly less bitchy and crazy version of herself, to Michael Motherfucker Paré acting like Michael Motherfucker Paré, and to the Oscar worthy Richard Jenkins and Matthew Fox; everyone kills it. Jenkins, nails every line, and Fox, reminds me of General George Armstrong Custer, if he survived the Battle of Little Big Horn. His arrogance is contagious. As much as Jenkins owns, it's Fox who gets the edge from me, because we expect this from Jenkins, but not from Fox. In my wild odd world, they would tie for Best Supporting Actor, but Fox would hit Jenkins on the head with his German, (watch the film) and run off with both trophies.
So, is this a horror flick? Umm, I'll let you be the judge. It's fuckin' graphic and brutal at critical times. No gore is unimportant. It has some of the best effects I've seen. Everything looks real, and believe me, the shit hits the fan, and it splatters everywhere. I'm left with a lot of questions about Patrick Wilson's character. For the most part, I thought he was outclassed by the rest of the cast, but it's his character, I'm dying to know more about. Some will complain the movie is too slow. No, not me. But, I was hooked from the opening seconds. If you're not hooked, maybe you might be bored? There's a few plot holes, but none worth covering up. The movie feels a tad bit rushed, but it was filmed in a very short time, and with a shoestring budget. I wonder what a few edits, a slightly better screenwriter, and a more experienced director, could've done? But, instead of answering the question, I will give credit to director, writer, and composer, S. Craig Zahler! You sir, have an exciting future in the moviemaking business.
I must give mad props to Lili Simmons. She plays the Doctor, and she's the most important character in the film. Once again, another strong female presence, in a male dominated film. Fuck yeah! The best part? It didn't feel forced, fake, or a plot device inserted to appease the fuckin' Politically Correct Police. Yes, she needs rescuing like the Princess in Mario, but she's a strong lady. Watch Banshee if you want to see more of her.
I could write an entire piece just on Jenkins or Fox, but I wanted to give an overview of the whole film. I almost missed this one. If it wasn't for reviews I read; I would've passed. Bone Tomahawk will make my Top 10 of the year, and by far, it's a bigger surprise than a stripper jumping outta my birthday cake. Highly recommended!!