The Horseman Review

The Horseman film still

Score

The Horseman is one decent actor drowning in a sea of hammers, knives and Queenslanders.

When a grieving father is anonymously sent a porn tape starring his dead daughter, he hunts down those involved with the sole intention of fucking them up. The result is an hour and a half of beatings, tormented screams and genital-based torture set against the hot and grimy Queensland environment.

In the film’s favour, Peter Marshall is thoroughly convincing as the self-harming father who, in between his bouts of sadistic violence, manages to forge a friendship with teenage hitchhiker Alice (Caroline Marohasy). But apart from this, The Horseman ignores any deeper moral questions to follow an ugly, linear path of violence, suffering and, oh, more violence.

Ultimately, it’s not the actual content that is disturbing, more the motivation of writer and director Steven Kastrissios in making such a sickening film.

Anticipation

Violent dad revenge thriller. Have any been good?

2

Enjoyment

Blood plus screams plus mutilation equals seat squirming.

1

In Retrospect

One decent actor drowning in a sea of hammers, knives and Queenslanders.

2
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View 3 comments

Sarah

5 years ago
I thought this film had a lot more redeeming features actually. It wasn't your Saw type of gratuitous violence at all, and the revenge scenarios playing out against the developing friendship was really interesting. Well shot too.

Anton Bitel

5 years ago
Hear hear, Sarah. There is a double edge in seeing the protagoinist (called, ironically, Christian) carry out his vicious, unforgiving vendetta in the name of fatherly love - and seeing him do it before he (or indeed we) know exactly what it is that he is avenging, It is as though Christian has us, too, as his captive audience, painfully interrogating our own muddled feelings about the sex industry, retribution, and the limits of love, fatherly or otherwise.

If you suppose that all cinematic depictions of torture are thereby automatically endorsements or celebrations of torture, then you will hate (or possibly even love) this film, to be sure - but doesn't The Horseman blur the boundaries between perpetrator and victim? I thought it was about as morally responsible a handling of this sort of material as I have seen - although definitely morally uncomfortable too (which, in cinema, as in any art, is usually a good thing, at least in my book).


mattg

5 years ago
Agreed. This way better than the usual revenge flick, fully aware of how close those who fight monsters are to being monsters themselves. Bit repetitive but otherwise a great calling card.
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