Plot:Aidan Breslin is a bitter detective emotionally distanced from his two young sons following the untimely death of his devoted wife. While investigating a series of murders of rare violence, he discovers a terrifying link between himself and the suspects in a chain of murders that seem to be based on the Biblical prophecies concerning the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse: War, Famine, Pestilence, and Death.
Lou Taylor Pucci,
Clifton Collins Jr.,
Barry Shabaka Henley,
My Thoughts:Better than expected.
Review:Didn't have much faith or confidence going into "The Horsemen". From the trailers, previews, etc....the film reminded me of just another serial-killer-horror-thriller where a grizzled cop who smokes a lot, is on the trail of some madman who's been whacking people left and right. "The Horsemen" though, written by Dave Callaham, and directed by Jonas Akerlund, does follow the serial-killer-horror-thriller mold, but it also sets itself apart from the norm very intently.
The film follows detective Aidan Breslin (Quaid), who is having trouble balancing his work with his family life, specifically, his two sons, who he is now taking care of due to the death of his wife some time ago. The situation becomes even more complicated when a rash and series of gruesome murders begin to occur. Breslin and the other detectives are baffled at who is commiting the crimes and why.
But soon, they get a break, which reveals that the killer or killers, are following the patterns of the four horsemen of the apocalypse. Soon, Breslin manages to apprehend one of the killers when they reveal themselves to him. Now, with this killer in custody, he needs their help to lead him to the final three horsemen before they kill again. What helps this film along the most is it's performances.
None of them stand out beyond Quaid's, but the talent make the most of their roles, which help string together a real concerted effort within the movie. The pic certainly doesn't boast a no-name, under-talented cast. Ziyi Zhang, Patrick Fugit, Eric Balfour, and Peter Stormare among others, make appearances in the film. And each of them have a vital role in the movies overall blueprint. The suspense and intrigue level is high in the film, something that is definitely necessary for films like this to be watchable.
I as a viewer, really found myself pulled in and deeply intrigued by the mystery of what all was happening. Especially because the killers were following the four horsemen mantra, which beats the usual motives in movies like these. In serial-killer-horror-thrillers, the killer usually idolizes Manson, Bundy, or someone like that. It's nice to see a movie that moves away from that for once. Because quite frankly, it's tiresome. Ziyi Zhang gives the best performance behind Quaid in the film, and in some scenes, she even out-performs the veteran actor.
Zhang plays Kristen, a strange girl who's mother was the victim of the Four Horsemen Killer. Although there's more to Zhang's character than meets the eye, still, she really does an excellent job in this movie, and if she could get more roles in american films that would be great. She's got some big time talent. Clifton Collins Jr. stars alongside Quaid as his partner Stingray. Collins Jr. isn't used as much as he should've been in this film, especially for a veteran actor.
But I assume this was because they wanted to keep the focus on the Four Horsemen killers and their crimes, which is where the films blood, gore, and brutality aspects come into play. The kills in the movie aren't shown detail for detail, with the exception of maybe one or two. But the crimes scenes, ala the ''Saw" movies, are very gruesome, and visually effective. The biggest thing to like about "The Horsemen" though is how the characters play off of one another so well.
Quaid and Zhang's characters really play well off of one another, and most of the scenes involving him and her are very engrossing. Quaid's character also plays well off of Collins Jr.s character, and Lou Taylor Pucci, who plays the son of Quaid's character Aidan, plays well off of him, as the son who feels his father is abandoning him and his little brother, for his job as a detective.
These scenes don't work very well too often, but the fact that this movie can go from gruesome crime scene one moment, to emotional father/son argument the next moment, and have both portions work, click, and be effective and believable, just goes to show how well rounded this movie is. The final act is where this movie could've failed, faltered, crashed, and burned.
But once again good writing saves the film, offering up the least expected ending, and an unpredictable twist which ties deeply into the Four Horsemen murders. While you might have a slight hunch at how the film will conclude, and what the twist will be, it still beats what could've been. And what could've been, or my original idea about the killings going into the movie, is what I dreaded the most.
But luckily, I was pleasantly surprised. "The Horsemen" is definitely a horror/thriller I'd recommend seeing. It packs a creative storyline, good performances, and an underlying message of sorts, all into an 86 minute ride which mixes well with many suspense/thriller elements.
Positives:Quaid's performance, Zhang's performance, a great script, high levels of suspense, twisted crime-scene imagery, great on-screen chemistry amongst all of the actors, and a nice twist ending.
Overall:Four stars out of four.
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