The Horseman


Viewed – 16 April 2010  DVD

This Australian revenge thriller borrows its premise from the likes of Deathwish and more recently, Liam Neeson vehicle Taken but has a raw intensity and unflinching approach that singles it out as its own beast.  A pest exterminator whose daughter dies after a drugs overdose, soon discovers that she was involved in the making of a sleazy porn film, and so sets out to track down those responsible and beat, bludgeon and stab them to death.  During his road trip he picks up a hitchhiking teenage girl who reminds him of his daughter, and suffers from a similar self-harming issue as himself, and he can tell she’s heading in the same direction.

Peter Marshall delivers a powerhouse performance as the vengeful father but comes across as someone with more than a few screws loose himself, meaning that although you sympathise, condoning some of his extreme acts of violence is a little harder.  And this movie is violent – in a very real, no-holds-barred sense, despite the low-budget preventing any lingering close-ups.  Still when it kicks off, this is very nasty stuff.  To counter this though we have a very emotional and believable portrayal of grief from Marshall, and you still should come away feeling sorry for him and hating the villains.  I just feel that if the violence had been toned down a little, then more of the ‘human’ story would be revealed – making for a more powerful but believable experience.  As it stands though, this is well made, with some expert direction from Steven Kastrissios and an atmosphere of dread that certainly leaves its mark.

Verdict:  4 /5

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