Salutations my screechers, screamers, and scary dreamers,
Tonight’s tale of terror entitled “Bone Tomahawk” sees a senior sheriff and a posse pursuing kidnapping cannibals.
I will admit that I would be hard pressed to name more than ten horror films set in the Wild West so their rarity has made me keen to seek them out when they hit the screen. This entry left me very impressed and I must admit it is one of the best examples of how to do horror right while making sure to never lose sight of the western trappings we expect or the archetypes we respect. In a way it is also the Achilles heel as the scenario has such a familiar feel that we sort of know what they have planned while the characters seem fairly canned.
From the tough as nails sheriff to the racist dandy nearly every western stereotype is handy, but the actors portraying these western fixtures never make them seem like caricatures. Each actor played their role straight which made it easy to relate and they further made their characters feel weighty by imbuing them with a dose of subtlety. This nuance helps us to invest, but also serves to keep our interest in what would otherwise be typical fare before we enter the cannibal’s lair.
It takes us a while to reach the troglodyte’s lair, but once we finally get there this movie ratchets up the dread guaranteeing that it will stick inside one’s head. The sounds alone might make some queasy since the animalistic cries made me feel uneasy all of which served as a dread filled pretext to what they decided to show us next. This one scene in particular is a true standout and will put to bed any doubt that this is a more horrific quest than the first two thirds would ever suggest. To keep the surprise intact I will only say that this moment has great impact.
In summation, this traditional western with a horror twist does enough right to not be missed.
Stick to the shadows my fine friends.
Mr. William Nightshade