It is safe to say that Se7en changed the face of thrillers forever. Post this misspelled twisted tale of a serial killer with a mission, the cops on his trail and a whole host of very nasty deaths every thriller looks, feels and attempts to emulate its dark disturbing vision all to varying degrees of success.
Horsemen is the most recent to follow in Fincher’s footsteps and with a quality cast, some visual flair and a solid story line it is an excellent if slightly derivative horror thriller well worth catching.
Detective Aiden Breslin (Dennis Quaid) is an emotionally distant widowed loner with a family he barely spends time with. He is also an expert at catching serial killers and when a silver platter of bloody forcibly removed teeth turns up in the middle of nowhere he is called in to find out who is responsible.
His investigation and the brutal murders which he discovers lead him to find a link between the killer or killers and prophecies concerning the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse: War, Famine, Pestilence, and Death. With a deadline looming to find the final missing link in the murders Breslin rushes to stop the killers plan to bring about an event which may have consequences of biblical proportions.
Packed with plenty of religious imagery and themes the story is much more than a simple murder hunt and keeps you as hooked as the horrible torture devices the killer uses on his victims. What elevates this film above average is the excellent cast. Quaid especially is totally on point and believable as the wizened old cop with plenty of inner angst.
Chinese actress Ziyi Zhang is chilling as the disturbed Kristin a character seemingly snatched straight out of a J-Horror and transplanted to an American movie showing how influential Asian horror has been.
The rest of the cast is filled with great character actors such as Clifton Collins Jr, Barry Shabaka Henle, Patrick Fugit and Eric Balfour all delivering intense performances in relative minor roles.
Swede Jonas Akerlund handles direction duties well, considering this is his first feature. Washing the screen with white, making the movie nearly monochrome, he ups the style – something he surely learnt in his previous career making music videos (impressively including the classic and controversial Smack my Bitch Up for Prodigy).
With Michael Bay listed among the credits as a producer you may be mistaken in thinking this was a slice of pure Hollywood hokum. In fact Horsemen is an intelligent and well-shot twisted thriller with some shocking scenes and some great performances.
Additional film information: Horsemen (2009)