June 18, 2015

Blu-ray Review: Horsehead (2015)

Boy oh boy, is this movie ever going to divide audiences.

On one hand, Horsehead is a gorgeous, surreal, living nightmare that held us in an almost hypnotic state for most of its runtime.

On the other, it's confusing, scattered, and overly ambiguous at times, while being fairly simple to decipher in the same breath. I could easily see someone calling it pretentious and ridiculous, and they wouldn't necessarily be wrong for doing so.

We, however, didn't find this movie to be pretentious or ridiculous at all. In fact, we found it to be quite the opposite. 
After the death of her grandmother, Jessica returns to her family home in the French Countryside to pay her respects. Going home isn't easy for Jessica, for a few reasons: she doesn't really like her Mother; her Mother doesn't really like her; and she's been having recurring nightmares since childhood that seem to revolve around her family, their old house, and a creepy dude wearing a Horsehead. So, it's pretty safe to assume that her weekend trip home is probably going to suck.

She arrives home to find that her Grandmother is laid out in the room next to hers for the wake (?!?), which not only gives her even worse nightmares, but leaves her bedridden with a fever. Like anyone else would do, Jessica grabs a bottle of ether, and repeatedly doses herself with it in an attempt to discover what her nightmares are all about, using the technique of lucid dreaming. Sounds legit.

In her dreams, she makes out with her Mother; takes a sexy bath with the younger visage of her Grandmother; is chased around by Horsehead; makes friends with a wolf; and finds herself constantly submerged in water... all of which has to do with a horrible family secret involving bunch of things that we'd rather not spoil for you here.

A truly confusing and compelling experience that feels like an acid trip ensues.

If nothing else, Horsehead is a bold movie. We also happen to think that it was beautiful and hypnotic, as well as crazy and disturbing, but above all else, it's bold as hell.

Told mostly from the dream state of Jessica, Horsehead is a movie that isn't always easy to decipher. You can basically figure out what's happening from early on (the movie isn't very subtle), but it also made us ask plenty of questions, many of which were never clearly resolved. It's basically a movie about the relationship between a Mother and a Daughter which has suffered greatly due to something horrible that happened in their past. To say any more about the plot would needlessly spoil things for the uninitiated, even if it's not really the plot that moves this movie forward and makes it work so well anyhow. No, this is a movie where the visuals (and their aesthetic) reign supreme.

From the opening scene, until the credits roll, Horsehead is a visually stunning movie. It's definitely got a Neo-Giallo feel about it, what with the MANY close-ups of eyes, the visceral gore, and the Argento-like use of colors that set the tone and mark certain characters. Even the scenes set in the waking world have a sharp sensibility about them. It's almost like you're actually watching someone's nightmare come to life on-screen. To call it surreal and disturbing is putting it mildly.

The star of the show is Lilly-Fleur Pointeaux, who despite having 33 credits on her young resume, is a newcomer to us. If Horsehead is any indication, then she's as talented as she is beautiful, which is saying a lot, because she's really, really hot. She does a great job in this one playing the drugged-up victim who is constantly haunted by her dreams, and she does an excellent job at getting naked as well. Good for her, on all counts. 

Horror fans should instantly recognize Jessica's Mother (Catelyn) as Catriona MacColl; the star of Lucio Fulci's Gates of Hell Trilogy (City of the Living Dead, The Beyond, House by the Cemetery.) She does a solid job here, and it's great to see her face in something creepy again. Most people, however, will probably not recognize Murray Head by name though; back in 1984, Head released the massive pop hit One Night in Bangkok. Until now, we had no idea that he was an actor, let alone a good one. What a nice surprise.

If there was one thing abut the movie that we didn't like, it was Winston's voice: not only was it obviously dubbed, but it felt odd and out of place, almost cartoonish. Also, the big showdown between the wolf and Horsehead was rather lame, as it was over in what seemed like 3 unremarkable seconds..

While it's not going to be for everyone, Horsehead both intrigued and entertained us for its entire runtime. It also messed with our minds, so there's that too. If you like the average surreal, cinematic mindfuck, then this movie should more than please you, as it is actually quite above average in many ways.

Like we said above though, Horsehead will not be for everybody, so watch accordingly.


Horsehead will be available on Blu-ray, DVD, and VOD from June 23rd.


Lilly-Fleur Pointeaux, Catriona Maccoll, and Gala Besson are the stuff of pleasant dreams, not nightmares.


  1. I must look this one up. It sounds a bit like Livid, which I enjoyed.

    Anyway, Murray Head is great. He was the original Judas in the Jesus Christ Superstar album before it became a stage show. He did a brilliant job of acting in a movie directed by John Schlesinger (of 'Midnight Cowboy' and 'Marathon Man' fame) called 'Sunday Bloody Sunday". A great movie in which he shags both Glenda Jackson and Peter Finch (who wasn't gonna take it anymore). And his brother was Giles in the Buffy TV show.

    And you know what? I did all that without Google. I just knew it.

    Does that make me a winner or what??

    1. Definitley a Winner. With a capital "W". ;-)

      He also had a major, worldwide hit single with "One Night in Bangkok" 30 years ago.


  2. Definitely a winner, Oreb. You know a lot about Murray Head lol

    I remember Sunday, Bloody Sunday, but didn't know he was in it. Makes me wonder what else he's been in that I've seen.

    As far as Horsehead goes, it did feel a bit like Livide, with maybe a tiny bit of Amer thrown in for good measure. Hope you like it when you see it.

  3. Visually stunning it left me confused. Very much. I just don't know if I liked it or not.

    I didn't even realize that there was a showdown between wolf and horsehead. I thought wolf just dropped dead. I must have looked away for those 3 seconds.

  4. i had to bow out of this movie with my girlfriend for obvious reasons. i loved it so far but she didnt and it ran out of time to watch it so im gonna wait for it on nertflix