Last week as I was doing my morning social-mediaring (that’s not a real word) I came across a post claiming that a new film starring Kurt Russel has the most violent death scene for this year – or seen in a long time in general. The film is called Bone Tomahawk and it’s about four men who set out in the Wild West to rescue a group of captives from cannibalistic cave dwellers.
If you’re brave enough to confirm or refute the scene’s score of the violence meter, check out the scene here if you dare. That post has an embedded video, but the YouTube video that was originally used in other publications has since been removed for violating community guidelines. Meaning it’s gross as fuck.
So yeah, it’s got a pretty crazy death scene, but is it a good movie and worth spending the 2 hours watching it? My answer would be yes, but only once.
Bone Tomahawk is a bit of a slow burn, the action and tension seem to come at just the right moment most of the time, but generally we’re just following a group of four men as they make their way across a desert wasteland.
Don’t get me wrong, I like the pacing of the film, but I have to call a spade a spade, and this is why I said it’s that kind of film you only watch once. This is not something I’d go back to every few months like some of the classic films I love to watch.
This pacing fits the narrative perfectly though, as we start to see that there’s more to this mission than just going in guns blazing.
The Tension & The Horror (Oh, the Horror!)
This is something that Bone Tomahawk gets so right! Many horror fans have been giving the film positive reviews, and it’s generally been accepted by the horror community (of the internet) despite being set as a Western.
The film builds up jump scares really well (and doesn’t use them too often), it’s also pretty damn gory, and has the element of senseless violence that in and of itself is pretty damn frightening. But there’s more to the horror than just the apparent nemeses; our heroes have to fight the elements, injuries, and other bandits in the area too which gives that impression that danger is around every corner, providing the dead Wild Western wasteland with a life of its own.
Let’s face it; the old cowboys and Indians narrative is outplayed and downright offensive to many people. In Bone Tomahawk, the cannibal tribe have no language, and so there’s a lot of othering going on here.
I do like that they clearly distinguish the cave dwellers from other Indian tribes at some point in the film, and this is done by an Indian man, an expert on the subject. However, I feel like this may have been done as part of a final checklist to cover all bases. Either way, I’m glad they did it because representation is quite often easily botched in many films, especially Westerns.
Overall, Bone Tomahawk is a great movie about perseverance and overcoming the odds to keep yourself and your loved ones safe. It’s a great Western with a healthy dollop of Horror.
See it/ Don’t see it: You can still see this even if you are easily grossed out as the violence is not gratuitous (except that one scene mentioned above). A great story, well told.
Check out the trailer for Bone Tomahawk below:
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