(US/UK/France - 2015)
Written and directed by S. Craig Zahler. Cast: Kurt Russell, Patrick Wilson, Matthew Fox, Richard Jenkins, Lili Simmons, David Arquette, Evan Jonigkeit, Kathryn Morris, Sid Haig, Fred Melamed, Michael Pare, Sean Young, James Tolkan, Jamison Newlander, Geno Segers, Zahn McLarnon. (Unrated, 132 mins)
An instant cult classic that actually earns the distinction, the horror-western hybrid BONE TOMAHAWK is the slow-burning directorial debut of novelist/musician/jack-of-all-trades S. Craig Zahler. Zahler's toiled on the fringes for much of his career, with his biggest brush with fame being when he was commissioned to script a ROBOTECH adaptation back in 2007 that ultimately never happened. He wrote the 2011 DTV horror film ASYLUM BLACKOUT, and in 2012, he had a martial arts series titled DOWNTOWN DRAGONS in the works for FX, but the network never moved it beyond the planning stage. Zahler found acclaim for his "western noir" novels like 2010's A Congregation of Jackals and 2013's Wraiths of the Broken Land, both books finding a huge fan in Kurt Russell, and the two became friends. Zahler wrote BONE TOMAHAWK for the legendary actor and the project was a labor of love--made for just $1.8 million, a shoestring budget by today's standards--that took several years to become a reality. It's a western like no other, one of the strangest and grisliest films of the year, and the kind of offbeat, original work that you just don't see much of these days. There's a reason it's getting a very limited theatrical release and being shuffled off to VOD. There's very little concern for commercial appeal here, though it will undoubtedly find an appreciative audience that will show it a lot more love than mainstream multiplexers ever would. Let there be no doubt: for better or worse, Zahler made exactly the film he wanted to make.