Occult and serial killers go hand in hand, especially in Hollywood. They’re always making these shrines, trying to appease or summon Satan or some shit like that. There’s no matter man than Jonas Akerlund to tell a story like that. He’s a very energetic Swed and one of the founding members of the cult black metal band Bathory. Jonas then went on to direct a bunch of music videos for bands like Metallica, Prodigy, and Satyricon. I also simply adore his first movie, a berserk junkie trip Spun starring Mickey Rourke and Brittany Murphy. So, after this short intro, it’s time to see what we actually have here.
Highly atmospheric and suspenseful, Horseman is a classic dark thriller about a detective trying to catch a vicious serial killer. It reminds me a lot of nineties classic Se7en. That movie was about deadly sins and this one is about the four horsemen of the apocalypse. The atmosphere here is just so gloomy and foreboding that you feel like it’s going to ooze out of the screen and into your room. Just like the snow and the bitter coldness. Everything is fucked up and just plain old nasty here, including the twisted kills. Just ten minutes in we will see our first victim suspended in the air by hooks piercing her body.
You know how things go from here. Detective Aidan Breslin will keep finding clues and bodies slowly descending into madness as the man he’s looking for is already there. Dennis Quaid gave another solid performance along with Ziyi Zhang (Crouching TIger, Hidden Dragon). However, Clifton Collins Jr. stole the show for me. He’s one of those actors who appear in a lot of supporting roles and nail every single one of them. Clifton also has a knack for choosing really good and underrated movies, just like the one we’re talking about today. I have to go over his filmography to see if I missed any.
Just like in his previous movie, Akerlund uses snappy editing to inject a lot of energy into the story. Add to this excellent cinematography and a short running time of just ninety minutes and you got yourself a decent little serial killer movie. Horsemen is a movie not afraid of graphic content and there will be quite a few explicit scenes of dead bodies in awkward positions. I’m glad it’s not a torture porn movie like Hostel or Saw. However, it’s also just so predictable and in a rush to get to the end that it’s almost ridicules. The movie briefly touches upon several interesting topics like sadomasochism and the occult never delving any deeper into them.
It would be so cool if it did. Like detective Breslin must research and test out this new kinky thing called suspension. And it turns out that he likes it and so forth. Sadly, there will be none of that here. We’re going straight for the classic get your man before he disappears theme. If they only spent more time developing the story and the characters, this would’ve been one hell of a movie. And I wouldn’t mind if they went full-tilt and offered something like the unhinged End of Days. Still, Horsemen is a visually impressive and cozy serial killer movie definitely worth watching.
If you’re looking for similar movies do check out Insomnia, another thriller featuring a wintery setting. However, when it comes to the visuals and the story, Resurrection, another religiously-themed serial killer movie might be a better fit.
Director: Jonas Åkerlund
Writer: Dave Callaham
Cast: Dennis Quaid, Ziyi Zhang, Clifton Collins Jr., Liam James, Eric Balfour
Fun Stuff: The filming took place in Winnipeg, Canada smack dab in the middle of the winter. This means that the temperatures were around 40-45 degrees below.