Monday, December 27, 2010

BLU-RAY REVIEW: The Horseman (2008)


DISTRIBUTOR: Umbrella Entertainment

GENRE: Revenge Thriller
DIRECTOR: Steven Kastrissios
CAST: Peter Marshall, Brad McMurray, Jack Henry, Chris Sommers, Evert McQueen, Steve Tandy, Bryan Probets, Chris Betts, Caroline Marohasy
TAGLINE: He has some questions.

PLOT: An action-packed, award winning Australian thriller, THE HORSEMAN features a range of powerhouse performances in an unflinching study of grief and retribution. After learning of the suspicious death of his daughter, Christian (Peter Marshall) is sent a chilling video of what may have been her last hours alive. Driving through north Queensland to locate those responsible for his daughter's death, he reluctantly picks up Alice (Caroline Marohasy), an awkward young runaway and an unlikely bond develops. As he pieces the crime together, an ugly truth is revealed. Relentless in his pursuit of revenge, Christian leaves a bloody trail of bodies as he seeks those who harmed his daughter.

FILM: The revenge film, it can be such a fun and satisfying genre when done well. From the grindhouse classic I SPIT ON YOUR GRAVE (1978) on thru to the more mainstream   TAKEN (2008) to last years fantastic indie-exploitation feature RUN! BITCH RUN! (2009) the genre is still going strong and shows no signs of slowing anytime soon.

In Steven Kasrtissios nail-biting Australian revenge thriller THE HORSEMAN Christian (Peter Marshall) discovers the awful truth behind his teenage daughters death. Turns out she was mixed-up in the sleazy underworld of hardcore pornography and drugs and died just after shooting a threesome. The grieving father (a pest control technician by trad) sets out to take revenge on those complicit in her death beginning with the films distributor and then onto the film's producer who drops a few more names after being bound and tortured by the anguished father. And so it goes - a cycle of kicking ass and taking names and kicking ass again.  Armed with a growing list of names Christian takes his extermination skills on the road through rural North Queensland to locate the final few perpetrators. Along the way he reluctantly picks up a teenage runaway named Alice (Caroline Marohay) and the two  develop a strong bond. She seems to calm Christian's thirst for revenge and just when he decides to call an end to his vendetta things spiral out of control and endanger not just him but Alice as well.

 Peter Marshall as the obsessed revenge driven father is fantastic. He's the hard working every man driven to take revenge by the nature of his daughter's death. You feel his pain and anguish and then you feel his wrath. If you crave a film loaded with gruesome beat-downs you need look no further. Christian is armed to the teeth with a toolbox of murderous utilities. He seems to favor the crowbar (it really is an all-purpose tool) but he switches it up a bit. The film is slammed with brutality. Here's a smattering of the violence we see perpetrated in this film - sledgehammers to the face, claw hammers to the head, stab-wounds, numerous throats slit, knees broken, nipples severed, blow torch torture, penis trauma and a ton of sloppy hand-to-hand fist fights. The films nerve-shredding finale is fantastic stuff and I found it hard to believe this is director Steven Kastrissios's first film.  All in all THE HORSEMAN is a pretty straight forward revenge thriller at it's heart. What's sets it apart is how well done it is and an exceptional performance from Peter Marshall.

 DVD: This review is for Umbrella Entertainment's Region B,C Blu-ray of THE HORSEMAN. The film is also available here in the states through Screen Media Films FYI. The film is presented in 1080p 1.77:1 anamorphic widescreen with a 5.1 Dolby True HD soundtrack. It's a grainy and contrasty film by design and the surround is plenty bombastic - I jumped a few times during the frantic fight scenes, good stuff. The look and feel of the film captures a certain gritty vibe that suits the film just fine. The Blu-ray is jammed with bonus content that includes two commentaries, deleted scenes, a making of featurette, interviews, theatrical trailer and the short-film used to raise money for the feature film which features actor Jack Henry (who plays Fin in the film) as Christian.

- Audio Commentary with Director Steven Kastrissios and Producer Rebecca Dakin and actor Peter Marshall

- Audio Commentary with Director Steven Kastrissios
- Making of the Horseman  (35 Mins)
- Deleted Scenes x 3 with optional audio commentary
- Short film with optional audio commentary (15 Mins)
- Peter Marshall Interview (5 Mins)
- Caroline Marohasy Interview (9 Mins)
- Chris Anderson (Stunts) Interview (7 Mins)
- At The Movies: Margaret Pomeranz with Steven Kastrissios
- Theatrical Trailer
VERDICT: THE HORSEMAN (2008) is simply one of the best revenge thrillers I've seen a quite some time, great stuff with a compelling story and gruesome bloody violence that you not only see but feel in your bones. A definite high recommend from me. A classic revenge flick for the ages. **** (4 out of 5 stars)


  1. I really dug this one, blind-bought an ex-rental copy based on the concept and a vague recollection of an online trailer.

    Good stuff!

  2. Mob, Good stuff indeed, I'm looking forward to Kastrissios next film whatever that may be. Thanks for the feedback.