Reed Alexander's Horror Review of 'Bone Tomahawk' (2015)
'The 13th Warrior' of Westerns
Why was this considered horror? It was in the horror section. It was recommended to me as a horror movie. I was told it was a lot like The Burrowers (2008) which I loved for how dark it was. And yeah, this was pretty fucking dark, but it wasn't horror. It was basically the same movie as The 13th Warrior (1999) just with cowboys. Sure The 13th Warrior had a bit of a horror edge to it, but it was firmly action adventure and so was this. Hell, this was basically just an ultra-violent western like any other western. They just replaced the native Americans with something less offensive. I'm not even sure it worked. Bottom brass, it was still basically Native Americans. I'll talk a little more about this in the spoilers.
But hell, it was a good western. I'm a fan of a good western and this hit all the right spots for that. A posse heads out into the deep bush to rescue a woman captured by 'savages.' -Jesus, see what I mean? We're basically just trying to find a way around offensive native stereotypes- ANYWHO it's pretty grim as basically only three men are available to head the rescue mission. A fourth comes along but that's pretty doomed from the get go as he's seriously injured to the point of being crippled. He's basically just holding them back the whole time. But there're bandits and gunplay and desert survival; all the fun stuff in a western. Honestly, most of the movie is basic western stuff until the fight with the 'savages.'
The acting was pretty good too. A little hammy, but definitely good for horror. Hell, good for a western. The feel was right too. It had that frontier grittiness that it really needed. Also, the plot is stupid simple, "Damsel in Distress," so that's pretty hard to fuck up.
Yeah, it was good for a western. I recommend this to anyone who liked True Grit (2010). Or anyone that liked 13th Warrior and wanted to see the same concept again in another setting.
So what are these mysterious savages? Mongaloids... So then you'd expect this to be like the old western version of Hills Have Eyes (1977) or Wrong Turn (2003). Hell, if they'd done that instead, this would have been a great movie and firmly horror. It probably would have been a better movie. Again, this wasn't bad, it just wasn't horror. Even the supposed Mongaloids weren't really special. They were just actors covered head to toe in white paint. Nothing like the freaks from Hills, or Wrong Turn. One of them kinda has tusks but even still, isn't all that deformed.
Frankly, there wasn't anything to distinguish them from the typical old Hollywood example of Native American stereotypes. Sure, they SAY there's something distinctly different between the Mongaloids and the Natives, but then they just waltz out literally every old Native American stereotype and say "see, they're different." I get what they were trying to do, distinguishing between the 'Mongaloids' and the local Natives, but I really don't think it worked.
So yeah. Not horror. Still good. Could have been better.