Bone Tomahawk (2015)
With a different ending, this could have easily been the most cynical movie of 2015. Cynical… and hilarious! This genre-bending post-Western/Horror/Comedy is utterly vile and perversely well done, if you’re in it for the long run. Horror fans be warned: Bone Tomahawk is slow-paced and for the most part not scary, but the subtle humor and great acting will keep you watching.
The story of a bunch of cowboys trying to save their people from a group of terrorizing, demon-like “natives” may have more educated audiences wondering yet again: “Is this going to be racist?” The answer is: yes and no. As a post-Western with a modern perspective, the movie is precariously aware of its anachronisms regarding indigenous people and women, sometimes successfully and humorously subverting them, sometimes not. But I can’t help but laugh when Matthew Fox, playing the handsome and trigger-happy racist, proudly announces that his horse would buck off any natives trying to ride it, and Kurt Russell incredulously replies: “You trained her in bigotry?”
The back and forth between the unheroic, hyperbolic, but ultimately sympathetic characters is what really makes the movie special. It’s a shame and quite a surprise, given the A-list cast, that Bone Tomahawk didn’t get more attention. Then again, it is a peculiar blend of genres for a peculiar audience. I’m just glad it was made.