THE HORSEMAN Review. [An Absolutely Crushing Revenge Thriller]

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Written and Directed by Steven Kastrissios, 2008

The revenge thriller is a tough nut to crack.  The key to success is diving brain first into a unique angle on a time-tested formula.  If you’re Pierre Morel with TAKEN you throw Liam Neeson on a plane to Paris and have him throat chop every scumbag that gets in the way between his ex-CIA skill set and his kidnapped daughter.  If you’re first time Australian writer/director Steven Kastrissios with THE HORSEMAN, you send an average father with nothing to lose on the most intense, brutal, nerve-wracking, painful journey towards catharsis I’ve ever seen.  Yes, I broke out the E-word.

Kastrissios doesn”t have money for an A-list Hollywood veteran, nor the backing for city-wide chaos, car stunts, or complex gun fights on yachts.  So he wrote a script that starts off with Christian, a father who receives a letter and a video tape shortly after the death of his estranged daughter.  The tape is of a gang-bang porn the strung-out daughter filmed while high on heroin the day she died.  The cops have already told Christian that they found DNA from four different men inside her, but only three men are seen in the tape.  It’s the last blow the already broken father can take, so he sets out to find out who made the tape and who the unseen fourth man is.

What follows is a white knuckle thriller that goes into deep, dark recesses that prey on the Mr. Hyde inside anyone who has truly loved another human being.  I may have fears of the unknown, fears of tall, lanky grey men from beyond the stars staring at me while I sleep, but what happens in THE HORSEMAN is my absolute worst nightmare.  I’m not yet a father, but if what happened to Christian’s daughter were to happen to my wife, I would track down and every single motherfucker who had even the slightest involvement and stick a knife in their throat.  Just thinking about that scenario makes my blood boil, but to see that hypothetical captured so well on the screen, and to see how wrong needs for revenge can quickly go, shakes me to my core more than any horror movie I’ve seen this year.

Last Week in Horror News, February 1st to the 8th

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Trying out a new format this week.

Theatrical Trailers and Clips

Studio News and Attachments

  • DRAG ME TO HELL – Test screenings are going out for both a PG-13 and R cut of Sam Raimi’s return to horror.  Rut roh.
  • MY BLOODY VALENTINE – Exec producer John Dunning tells Fango he originally he gave Lionsgate a script for a sequel to the original MBV, which may soon be repurposed as a sequel to MBV3D.
  • THE KILLER INSIDE ME – Kate Hudson rounds out the cast for THE KILLER INSIDE ME, which now includes Casey Affleck, Elias Koteas and Bill Pullman.
  • ZOMBIELAND – Speaking of casting, Amber Heard joins Woody Harrelson and all the rest.
  • HACK/SLASH – Nick Principe will be playing 4 of the 5 slashers (though no description of who they are from the comic series), hints that the role of Cassie Hack is now between three high profile actors.  Guess they’re really going this thing.
  • BEASTLY – CBS Films wants some of thems Twilight’s monies, is putting young adult horror/romance novel BEASTLY on the big screen.
  • “VAMPIRE DIARIES” – Kevin Williamson has penned the pilot for CW’s new supernatural show.


Plenty of news this week on sequels to remakes, but no remakes themselves.

Indie, Foreign, and Random News

  • …OF THE DEAD – Romero says the social cross hairs of his new zombie opus will be on ‘tribalism’.
  • PONTYPOOOL – IFC Films will be releasing the ‘rage virus spread by the English language’ flick in May, which likely means IFC will be putting it OnDemand as well as in theaters.
  • CABIN FEVER 2 – Ti West talks CF2, reveals its status languishing in the post-production hell of ‘creative differences’.
  • SAVANT – Blair Witch’s Daniel Myrick’s next film is about a smooth talker who can turn anyone into a mass murderer after simply having a chat with them.

Non-Theatrical Trailers and Clips

  • TRIANGLE – Trailer for Christopher Smith’s (aka the guy who made CREEP, aka the banner for this site) new film.  I’m excited despite this trailer being gobbledygook.
  • INFESTATION – Trailer.  Giant bugs and Ray Wise.  Sold.
  • DEADLINE – Indie starring Brittany Murphy and Thora Birch that looks like a female version of James Van Der Beek’s FINAL DRAFT.  Sad that I’ve seen FINAL DRAFT.
  • DARK ISLAND – Stilted acting and stiff direction, but it looks like a lot of fun and sports the “LOST” smoke monster to boot.
  • SURVEILLANCE – Jennifer Lynch directed and produced by her father.

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