A cabin full of surprises is in store in Quentin Tarantino’s 2015 western mystery film, “The Hateful Eight.” The Academy Award-winning writer and director known for films such as “Pulp Fiction,” “Kill Bill,” “Inglorious Basterds” and “Django Unchained” hits it completely out of the park yet again to bring us another fun-filled, bloody, and hair-raising experience that does not disappoint. The film is about a group of eight strangers who, because of a furious blizzard, must stay together in a lonely cabin until the sun comes back up. Among these strangers is Major Marquis Warren, “The Bounty Hunter” (Samuel L. Jackson) and John Ruth, “The Hangman” (Kurt Russell) who begin to believe that one or more of the strangers is working to free a criminal they brought along with them, Daisy Domergue (Jennifer Jason Leigh). From then on, it becomes a mystery to find out just who is trying to assist Domergue and madness ensues.
“The Hateful Eight” cast, as with most of Tarantino’s work, is absolutely fantastic. Many old favorite actors from previous Tarantino films help give this engine fuel including Tim Roth (Reservoir Dogs, Pulp Fiction), Michael Madsen (“Reservoir Dogs,” “Kill Bill”), Kurt Russell (“Death Proof”), Walton Goggins (“Django Unchained”), and Bruce Dern (“Django Unchained”) as well as new faces who also deliver killer performances, including Jennifer Jason Leigh, Demian Bichir, and James Parks. However, the most Oscar-worthy and breakout performance of the entire film has to go to Samuel L. Jackson. Jackson. The actor, having already starred in five of the seven previous Tarantino movies, once again delivers an outstanding performance that comes off as funny, sadistic, calculating, oddly charming, and wildly witty. Coupled with Tarantino’s signature spine-tingling and chilling dialogue, Major Marquis Warren quickly becomes one of the most memorable Tarantino characters to date, which is saying a lot.
Other than the great cast, “Eight” is also a perfect example of Tarantino’s abilities as a director. Taking place in only about two locations, the film does a surprising and highly creative job at staying completely engaging and very snappy. The minimalist locations also help create a very claustrophobic atmosphere to the point that the cold air and nipping winds feel to be biting at you just as much as the characters on the screen. It also greatly helps in building an extremely tense mood that just keeps building and building and building, creating moments of nail-biting suspense to hair-raising action and insane violence that never lets up. The movie is a complete rush of emotions, to the point that you’ll feel worn out and tired by the end. For a movie set in only two locales, it was madly intense. The score, composed by famed composer Ennio Morricone, is beautifully composed and surprisingly haunting, helping build the necessary tension and moods needed for each scene.
The only very, very minor flaw I had with the film is that Tarantino uses his signature non-linear style of storytelling at one point, a style made famous with some of his earlier works, particularly “Pulp Fiction” and “Kill Bill.” However, here it isn’t used as well, and feels a little forced.
There has not been a single film in the past year that has given me such a feeling of excitement, suspense, fear, and wonder as “The Hateful Eight.” Tarantino has truly not lost his touch, even after over 20 years in the film industry, as we get another exciting, blood-splattered, atmospheric, dramatic, hilarious, and pulse-pounding adventure that truly stands out from the crowd. If you haven’t seen this masterpiece of a motion picture yet (or any Tarantino movie, as a matter of fact), than do yourself a huge favor and see “The Hateful Eight.” It is truly the definition of a true cinematic experience that is hard to forget.