We finally got a chance to see The Horseman, after missing out on it for one reason or another throughout most of last year, and we're sorry that it took us so long.
It's an inexpensive looking little movie; not to say it's cheap at all, but you can see that it's a smaller budget (about $10,000 actually), "realistic" looking flick. I think that the look and feel of it all lends itself to the overall grit of the movie, which was much like sharpened diamond chips to begin with. The director uses digital medium here to good effect.
The movie is about Christian, a grieving father that snaps and goes on a revenge spree to avenge the death of his daughter at the hands of evil Aussie pornographers. He exacts his brutal, unflinching revenge on each man who had even the smallest part in the events that lead to her death, but what makes it interesting is that you can see it tearing him apart as much as it's satisfying him. Fish hooks, air pumps, hammers... and tears? Why not? It's an interesting mix for a change.
Along the way he meets a young girl named Alice, a troubled "runaway" that reminds him of his own troubled daughter. Thus, he takes her under his wing, trying his best to give her the help that might have saved his own daughters life. The dynamic between the two is effective and works wonderfully. Of course he unwittingly drags her into his own sordid mess, and has to fight not only to avenge the memory of his child, but to save Alice as well...
From the get go, the blood and violence flow freely and often, and never let up until the end. Some of it, most of it, is tough to watch. Again, the realistic feel of the movie made the nasty bits, and there were plenty of them, feel all the more nasty. I almost want to use the words torture porn here, but the movie really isn't that. unlike most graphically violent flicks of the genre, The Horseman never sensationalizes the on screen atrocity. It's honest. Sincere even. And amidst all of the horrible things you're watching, the movie tugs at your heart strings.
I found it to be pretty powerful and entertaining, if painful to watch sometimes... I mean come on, torture makes you flinch. Right? It does me. It was bearable here though because I believed in the main character. Not only did Peter Marshall do a great job playing Christian (I'd love to see him get some more genre work), but the character was written and directed honestly. I bought into his mission, and cheered him on. My heart broke a little bit for him, despite the nasty things he was doing. Sure, his daughter wasn't a perfect kid and had some issues, but the vultures that preyed on her absolutely got what was coming to them.
What father wouldn't do the same for his own kid?
The Master Says- A Visceral yet honest enough not to be pure exploitation, The Horseman is one you should check out if you can stomach a ton of brutal violence to go along with your exposition. I hope the director, Steve Kastrissios, shows us some more of what he has to offer soon, because he made an effective little film here, with next to no resources. Had we seen it sooner, this would have been in our top 10 of the year for 2010.
It's nice to see that true creativity with heart still exists in horror cinema.