Posts Tagged ‘Jack Heller’

Bone Tomahawk Movie Poster*** This review contains spoilers ***
A posse embark on a rescue mission into the wilderness of the Wild West but bandits are the least of their problems when faced with the cannibalistic captors.
Director/Writer S. Craig Zahler crafts an enjoyable mature low key Western romp with graphics scenes (including dismemberment, disembowelment stabbings and gunfights) lettered throughout especially in the closing.
The cast on fine form as a sheriff (Kurt Russell), his deputy (Richard Jenkins), a gun slinger (Matthew Fox) go about rescuing a cowboy’s (Patrick Wilson) wife from – in a twist of sorts Neanderthal troglodytes. Russell is perfectly cast, with his look, straight talking gruff tones fitting a role he can do in his sleep, here though there’s something heroically poignant drenched in his character. Similarly, Brooder, Fox well dressed in white cowboy has a back-story which pulls no punches and is intriguing. Its character driven with some candid dialogue that cements your care for the characters, Jenkins particularly shines as the aged widowed deputy, Russell and especially Fox are memorable.
Zahler offers a novel twist on John Ford’s The Searchers. There’s a sense of scale and a lived in feel in his vision. The genuine attention to period detail reinforces the narrative. It’s dusty, picturesque (with cinematography from Benji Bakshi) but it also offers a over shadowing sense of impending doom and violence as the unlikely group of men go on a journey of survival and danger. The special effects are finely executed, wince inducing and leave an impact. Like producer/director Jack Heller 2011’s of Dark Was the Night the whole thing is low key and even with the characters having dynamite at the ready Zahler doubling duties as writer satisfyingly avoids the Hollywood explosive clichés.
Bone Tomahawk’s slow-burning story complements the gripping performances and as a smart horror Western its highly recommended.

  *** This review may contain Wendigo spoilers ***

A thing of folklore is unleashed on a small town.

Jack Heller offers a moody, atmospheric chiller thriller that’s well scripted by Tyler Hisel. This part mystery, part American folklore story is reminiscent in tone of Into the Grizzly Maze (2015), 30 Days of Night (2007) and TV’s Hannibal series with Darren Morze earthy precision score adding to the uneasy tension. This is not one of those cheesy DTV, Syfy channel flicks.

The acting is first rate and the supporting cast are solid. Kevin Durand gives a strong performance as the small town sheriff, Shields, who has to come to grips with a marital separation and the loss of one of his children. Shields and deputy Donny (Lukas Haas) investigate a spate of disappearances and animal killings which leads him to believe there’s something strange going on in the woods nearby.

With a washed out colour palette and attention to detail, its well directed by Heller. The on location feel and snowy cold backdrop gives it weight thanks to Ryan Samul’s cinematography. There’s only fleeting glimpses throughout of the original creature design and in true horror tradition the monster is kept in the dark until the end. This coupled with solid naturalist performances deliver a serious creature feature.

Dark was the Night is a recommend slow burner with an ending that beckons a sequel.