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Christopher Webster [DVD News 07.14.09] movie review apocalyptic dvd horror thriller

Year: 2009
Directors: Jonas Ã…kerlund
Writers: Dave Callaham
IMDB: link
Trailer: link
Amazon: Link
Review by: agentorange
Rating: 6.3 out of 10

With shades of Se7en, a great cast and a truly inventive apocalyptic mystery at its heart, Horsemen comes oh-so close to being a film that's up there with the best of cinema's dark murder mysteries. But alas, between a rash of forgotten characters, a tepid plot twist and a rushed ending, the film ultimately ends up falling just shy of its potential and leaves you feeling like you weren't told the whole story.

Produced by Michael Bay's horror hub, Platinum Dunes (Texas Chainsaw Massacre, Friday the 13th), Horsemen comes with a definite pedigree of talent behind it. Dennis Quaid and Ziyi Zhang do the majority of the heavy lifting here, but look carefully and you'll find a ton of decent cameos by the likes of Peter Stormare, Eric Balfour, and that kid from Almost Famous. What's his name again?

The film is about Aidan Breslin, a detective who finds himself "thrust into an investigation of perverse serial killings rooted in the Biblical prophecy of the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse: The White Horsemen, a master of deception and the unexpected leader hell-bent on conquest; The Red Horsemen, a sharp-witted warrior intent on turning man against man, with an innocence that hides a burning rage within; The Black Horsemen, a manipulative and dark tyrant, unbalanced but always one step ahead; and The Pale Horsemen, an executioner with disarming strength, determined to spread death through surgical precision. As Breslin grapples with each new revelation in the case, he slowly discovers a shocking connection between himself and the four suspects."

I have some friends who seem to have some sort of issue with the Quaid, but I've been a fan ever since I saw Dreamscape back in 1984. He plays a great everyman, and in Horsemen that really shines through in his portrayal of a detective with two kids who lost his wife to cancer. Quaid is able to give the character all the sadness, tiredness and determination of a man lost in his work, without resorting to melodramatics and deadpan like Nicholas Cage would do.

Ziyi Zhang on the other hand, is a different story, not because she's bad in the film, but because she's over qualified for such a small character. She's given no arch to play off of and then is just forgotten by the end. Too bad really, because Zhang's a real talent.

I mentioned Se7en above and, in terms of the film's visual style, it's almost impossible to miss the similarity. It's dark, moody and a lot of the violence is explored after the fact. Hearing about something seems to make it scarier I find. Horsemen could have easily gone down 'ol torture porn road but luckily Ã…kerlund chose the classier route.

Horsemen rides an interesting line between being a dark, detective crime drama and a straight-up horror. It's beautiful to look at and boasts a great performance by Quaid, but something feels rushed about it. I say, lower your expectations and Horsemen will impress.

Horsemen is available on Lionsgate DVD today, July 14, 2009.

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