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The Horseman (Blu-ray Review)

Every few years a low budget thriller will come along and blow away even the most polished, cliched, mindless pieces of crap out there with its heart and simplicity.  I’m quite pleased to say that Steven Kastrissio’s The Horseman is one of those films.  Having financed the film by himself with the help of family members, The Horseman is a four year journey in the making.  Believe me when I tell you, it wasn’t all a labor of love.  Please keep in mind that The Horseman is not a polished, big budget, traditional, film.  Director Steven Kastrissios wrote, produced, edited, and directed The Horseman.  Steve Kastrissios is the Australian Robert Rodriguez.

Film 

Christian (Peter Marshall) is a divorced father who’s daughter has just died under some shady circumstances.  What’s to follow is a dark and somber journey into the world of pornography and drugs.  We’re not really shown, with the exceptions of stylized flashbacks, what life was like between Christian and his family.  The film is already set up in a fragmented style.  Sometimes you’ll see someone who is already beaten up, then it will cut to how it led to the beating itself.  I enjoyed that sort of perspective.

What really sets The Horseman apart from other vigilante-type films is that it’s pretty much grounded in reality.  You will not find guys jumping around with two guns, or guys with fancy martial arts moves, or any fancy choreography.  None of that.  What you will see is a man out for revenge against the scumbags that did his family wrong.  He will go at them with everything he’s got and also a bit of “improvisation.”  In real life, fights usually take thirty to seconds from beginning to end.  That’s how The Horseman plays out.  Characters react to a punch, headbutt, getting hit with a foreign object, like they would in the real world.  Metal pipe + side of head = person on the floor.  It’s refreshing.

In addition to the up close and personal fights, Christian will have moments of soul searching to himself.  He’ll mentally question whether he’s doing the right thing or not.  Along the way he’ll meet up with a young girl named Alice (Caroline Marohasy) who will become his moral compass for the remainder of his journey.  She’s a fragile human being with her own story to tell that will remind Christian of his daughter.  These moments of stillness are very effective , because they give the viewer a chance to breathe a little bit before the final storm comes barreling through.  Relish it.

Don’t get me wrong, The Horseman is violent as all hell, but the violence moves the story forward, so it’s valid.  Most of the violence is implied, but that’s what makes it that much more effective.  It’s the old horror-thriller motto of, “it’s not what you see, it’s what you DON’T see” that makes the film succeed.

Video 

Considering this film was shot on a low budget, you would think the film would look like crap.  I’m happy to say that it does not.  The Horseman is presented in its original aspect ratio of 1:78.1.  The image will fill up your entire screen.  The film has a processed look, but I’m confident that it was the director’s intent.  The contrast was also boosted somewhat.  The image is free of dirt, noise, speckles, and DNR. All in all, for such a low budget indy film, it looks great!

Audio 

The audio is a bit tricky, but I will play devil’s advocate and give it three and a half stars.  This does not mean that it’s a horrible mix.  Far from it.  You’ll feel every bone crunching effect, I’m sure.   The Horseman is presented in a 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio format. Kudos to Screen Media for providing the fans of high def audio with a lossless sound track.  The Horseman has incredible bass and will make all of those LFE fans real happy.  The sound is a bit heavy in the front and the rear channels don’t take full effect until the last act of the film.  If the rear speakers had gotten a workout early on, this would have no doubt gotten a four star in the audio department.  As is, The Horseman has a pretty damn good audio track.

Special Features 

The Horseman contains a handful of special features.  Not a fully loaded set, but pretty packed for a low budget flick.

  • Making Of Featurette – A standard making of documentary of behind the scenes footage.
  • Director’s Commentary – Director Steven Kastrissios takes the viewer on a journey into The Horseman production.  Don’t expect a step by step commentary track.  It’s more of a fly on the wall type or commentary. If that makes sense.  It’s pretty entertaining, in my opinion.
  • Cast and Crew Commentary – Okay, this track is a lot of fun, because you got cast and crew spouting off about the making of the film.  It’s a very candid commentary.
  • Deleted Scenes with Optional Commentary – Several scenes that did not make it into the final cut of the film.  The director provides a commentary on why they were cut out.
  • Short Film with Optional Commentary – This is my favorite of all the special features.  The Horseman started out as a short film that was used to raise more money to make into a feature.  The short has an optional commentary track by the director.
  • Interviews with Cast and Crew – Standard interviews with the cast and crew.

Final Thoughts 

They sure as hell don’t make them like they used to.  The Horseman is a balls to the wall little thriller that makes no apologies and takes no prisoners.  Some viewers will be shocked, mortified, and disturbed by the end of the film.  I don’t think that is the intention of the film, but let’s just say that after you finish watching the film you’ll never look at a football air pump the same way ever again.

Bring home The Horseman on Blu-ray!

   Enter to win a free copy here.

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Gerard Iribe is a writer/reviewer for Why So Blu?. He has also reviewed for other sites like DVD Talk, Project-Blu, and CHUD, but Why So Blu? is where the heart is. You can follow his incoherency on Twitter: @giribe

3 Responses to “The Horseman (Blu-ray Review)”


  1. Sean Ferguson

    Nice job Gerard! I had no interest in this until your review.

  2. Brian White

    I don’t know what it is G, but I could not get into this movie. My wife, who loves sick revenge movies, just rolled her eyes at me the entire time 🙁

  3. Gerard Iribe

    Brian, you’re gonna have to start watching films by yourself. 😉