Tag Archives: Matthew Fox

“Bone Tomahawk” (2015) was superb. “Wyatt Earp” meets “Cannibal “Holocaust!”

Let’s get something out of the way first — “Bone Tomahawk” (2015) isn’t only a western.  It’s a genre-busting … “horror-western,” as other review sites have called it.  It pits four protagonists against a tribe of monstrous “cave dwellers” who have kidnapped two people from their tiny frontier town of “Bright Hope.”  And the results at the movie’s end are pretty damned horrifying.

This was superb — I’d give it a 9 out of 10.  “Bone Tomahawk” succeeds in being scary and enjoyable simply because it’s a quality film.  The script is outstanding, with nuanced, occasionally funny, and ultimately quite likable characters.  The four leads — Kurt Russell, Patrick Wilson, Matthew Fox and Richard Jenkins — play the diverse quartet perfectly.  I could honestly watch another one or two movies about these guys, even without the horror-movie plot device that this flick employs — and that is coming from a guy that doesn’t like westerns.

The directing and cinematography are perfect.  And the end of the movie is nerve-shattering, smartly written and satisfying.  (Although there is one violent sequence that might make your heart stop.  Good lord.)

My only criticisms are very subjective.  For one, this movie sometimes felt slow.  The exciting horror-movie element that drives the plot is introduced early, but briefly.  It is then more than an hour before we arrive at it again, as we follow the four protagonists traveling to an uncharted valley just to reach the bad guys’ lair.

For another … this movie got just a little too dour during its lengthy second act (the trek to the valley where the climax takes place).  We see a few sad things, including the fates of innocent people and animals.  These punctuate what is literally a painful journey for one of our heroes waging a doomed battle against a horribly wounded leg.  Throughout its middle,  “Bone Tomahawk” isn’t so much of a “scary movie” as it is a slightly depressing movie.

Still, this was fantastic.  And if you see it and you really like it, as I did, then spread the word.  This flick hasn’t gotten the press it deserves.

Quick postscript: watch for David Arquette and none other than Sid Haig in surprise supporting roles!  And … supposedly Sean Young was in this movie, but I’ll be damned if I could spot her.

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A review of “Extinction” (2015)

I’d give “Extinction” (2015) a 6 out of 10; it’s a fairly average postapocalyptic horror movie.  And that’s kind of sad, as it seemed to have the ingredients for a great one.

We open with a delightfully scary nocturnal ambush on two school buses crowded with fleeing refugees.  The scene isn’t perfect.  (The soldiers here are both too stoical and too stupid.)  But it’s effective thanks to its claustrophobic setup.  The assailants actually aren’t zombies or “undead” — they’re vicious, fast-moving mutants that are far more interesting.  (Their monsteryness is contagious and catches quickly, a la 2002’s “28 Days Later.”  This predictably spells disaster for the busses’ passengers.)  The animalistic albino baddies actually reminded me a lot of the creatures from “Mutants” (2009).

Then we jump ahead nine years, where two men and a nine-year-old girl suspect that they are the last of the world’s survivors.  But three people are enough for conflict, human nature being what it is.  There is a creatively conceived and fresh idea for a particularly dark end-of-the-world drama.  Jeffrey Donovan and Matthew Fox are both very good; yet the incredibly talented young Quinn McColgan outshines them both.  (Seriously, that little girl is off the hook.  Her performance might be the best thing about the film.)  The makeup effects for the monsters (here only referred to as “they” or “them”) are surprisingly fantastic for what seems like a low-budget film.  And you can tell that a nice amount of thought went into this movie, even if its understanding of Darwin is a little puzzling.  (Why would blindness be an adaptive trait for the monsters?)

I’m just not sure why this movie didn’t work so well for me.  Its formula sure as hell worked for “28 Days Later” and “Maggie” (2015).

Here’s what I think the problem was — the conflict between the two men was a plot that just never advanced.  One hates the other.  We eventually find out why, and it’s a compelling plot point, rendered fairly well in flashback.  But … it’s a static situation that just doesn’t proceed anywhere.  I actually got bored.

The monsters often did little to advance the tension.  They are usually offscreen, absent entirely, or even (in much of the movie’s beginning) presumed extinct.  My attention really did wander.

Finally, the extremely cheesy musical score detracted greatly from the tension that the movie does manage to establish.  This horror movie sounded like a Lifetime Channel movie-of-the-week.  That is not a good thing.  If only those violin players had been victims of the initial apocalypse.

Oh, well.  This is still a fairly good end-of-the-world tale.  And the creepy-crawlies were nice, when we got to see them.

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