×

HORROR DVD/BLU-RAY REVIEWS

Search by title # A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z
HORSEMEN
Download Movie
Reviewed by: Pat Torfe

Directed by: Jonas Åkerlund

Starring:
Dennis Quaid
Ziyi Zhang
Liam James
Lou Taylor Pucci

Movie:  
star star star star
Extras:  
star star star star
Overall:  
star star star star
What's it about

After the tragic death of his wife, Detective Aidan Breslin (Dennis Quaid) has become lost in his depression and his work, keeping him distant from his two boys. When a serial killer or group of killers makes its presence known, targeting Detroit with inspiration from the biblical Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse (complete with thematically appropriate murders), Aidan is assigned the case. The sole suspect in the case is a killer named Kristen (Ziyi Zhang). Kristen holds clues to further victims, but naturally, they're wrapped in riddles. Aidan must work to crack the codes, hoping to avoid the higher bodycount.

Is it good movie?

Prior to sitting down and watching HORSEMEN, I was getting the sense that the film was going to be a mash-up of SE7EN, SAW and an episode of Millennium, with Michael Bay thrown in as producer for sh*ts and giggles. Nevertheless, I had to put my objectivity hat on and see the film for what it was. At the end of it though, I was satisfied on the one hand and disappointed on the other. What could've been a nice send-up to films that inspired it, HORSEMEN ended up being messy.

Diving into things, I have to give props to Dennis Quaid and the great performance he gave. His character can best be described as a broken and tired man, tormented by his wife's death and having a cynical outlook on life because of it. Especially golden are the moments where he has to choose between his work and his children. Yeah, it's your typical sort of detective character, but Quaid does it well. As for the other starring notable, Ziyi Zhang is horribly miscast in this film. Seriously, I couldn't find her threatening as a killer. It's probably a good thing she's only in the film for 15 minutes or so, as she's no Kevin Spacey. Her deceptive physicality is one thing, but her difficulty in the English language is another.

Behind the camera, director Jonas Åkerlund struts his stuff and does it well, though it feels kind of restrained and begins to bog down near the end. Too bad, since Åkerlund has done some awesome stuff in the past, most notably his video for Madonna's "Ray of Light" and videos for Metallica's "Turn The Page" and The Smashing Pumpkins' "The Everlasting Gaze". I suspect part of the pacing problem lies with screenwriter David Callaham (DOOM), who gets one too many things going at once, causing the story of Aiden's home life to fight for top spot with the case and it's biblical undertones until rushing to the finish.

I don't want HORSEMEN to sound like a waste, since it does show off a good bit of the uneasy stuff, the highlights being folks suspended by hooks and bled, a dead fetus, and one of the murders caught on tape. This and Quaid's acting are the reasons why the film's not an entirely skippable affair. Still, the way the script handles everything, plodding along until waking up to finish the film in a most unenergetic way, won't exactly warrant the film repeat viewings. See it if you have to, but just know that there are much better options out there.

Video / Audio

Video:Shot in Winnipeg, Manitoba, the 1.85:1 anamorphic widescreen looks great. Details are consistent, with strong black levels and detail. The colour, save for red, is muted, but it's by choice. This of course brings out the skintones nicely.

Audio: Like the video, the Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround mix is spot on as well. The score by Jan A.P. Kaczmarek is a mix of your standard scare jolts and elegant themes, and doesn't overpower the dialogue. Clean and clear without any sort of distortion. Also included is a kind of meh Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo mix.

The Extras

The first extra is a commentary with director Jonas Åkerlund and cinematographer Eric Broms, who repeatedly remind everyone just how cold it was during the shoot. That faint 'duh' you hear is coming from every horror fan in Manitoba who just finished reading that line. Also, describing yourselves as 'boring' doesn't help when the track itself is boring. The duo do talk of production stories and script changes, amongst other things. Overall, it's a dry track with some informative bits.

The other extra is a selection of deleted scenes. Clocking in at just over 11 minutes, quite a bit of what was cut was character development, which isn't surprising given the film's pacing.

Last Call

An okay time-waster, but other than Quaid's performance and the SE7EN-esque situations, there's not much you haven't seen from the film's contemporaries. The audio and video departments along with the deleted scenes make up for the blah commentary in this purely rental fare.

ARROW IN THE HEAD'S RATING SYSTEM
star star star star I'D BUTCHER MY FAMILY TO SEE THIS AGAIN
star star star HANG ME BUT I DUG IT A LOT
star star AN OK WAY TO KILL TWO HOURS
star JUST SLING AN ARROW IN MY HEAD AND LET ME DIE IN PEACE

Featured Youtube Videos

Views and Counting