January 11, 2011

Quick Review: The Horseman (2010)

"Think Taken meets Father of the Bride, but with a dead bride and fishhooks... and that really doesn't begin to cover the dynamics at work in this movie..."

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 who 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.

You are so screwed, mate.
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 daughter's 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 too honest for that. Sincere even.

Most compelling of all, is the fact that amidst all of the horrible things that you're watching unfold on screen, the movie tugs at your heart strings.

It's all for love.
I found The Horseman it to be both 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 that the main character's quest for vengeance was a righteous one. 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 even broke a little bit for him, despite the nasty things he was doing to other human beings. 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?

This dad would, and does.
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 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.



Caroline Morohasy is a cutie, and she was great in this.


  1. YYYYEEESSSSS! I've been waiting for you guys to review this, even though its not horror per say. Peter Marshalls performance is unbelievable, the camera work is fantastic, truly a gem. Am I the only one that thinks Autralia really has its shit together when it comes to movies? We got this one, Rogue, Wolf Creek, Acolytes, Black Water, Saw, Lake Mungo, the list goes on and on.

  2. It truly is a gem, and yes, I'm pretty impressed with most Aussie work I see, and not only horror.

    The movies you listed are great examples of great Aussie film, and especially Lake Mungo. That movie still haunts me to this day.

  3. Glad you guys saw this. I have this #11 on my Top 20 of 2010. Awesome revenge flick. The fight scenes are mega realistic...like a real fight.

    Good times...glad it got the Horror Club approval.

    Its playing on Showtime.

  4. Had I seen it earlier Jaded, it would have definitely placed high on our 2010 list too... A genuinely good movie.