Uh-oh! Direct-to-DVD release alert! Horsemen, starring Dennis Quaid (oh, how hard we fall so quickly), debuts on DVD this coming Tuesday. Once slated for a theatrical release, this Seven-esque thriller is surprisingly decent until it crumbles in the final act.
Horsemen is about a hardened detective (Quaid) who is assigned to investigate a series of brutal, disturbing murders. His investigation leads him to believe that four killers are working together in worship of the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse, and he begins to suspect that the murders are going to give way to something much, much worse.
Director Jonas Åkerlund, who has primarily directed concert documentaries, has made a decent little thriller here. The film looks pretty good and works at a slow but deliberate pace. The murder scenes are pretty well done, and the picture bears a lot of literal similarities to Seven.
Unfortunately, as a result, Horsemen comes off as a B-grade version of that classic serial killer film, generally considered one of the best of its genre. The movie looks good, but it's still simplistic when compared to Seven. Åkerlund is no Fincher no matter how you look at it; Horsemen is a lesser version of Seven in visual appeal, storytelling and suspense. The movie has some intelligent elements, but Åkerlund and writer Dave Callaham don't bring things together in a solid way.
Still, for what it's worth, Horsemen maintains enough tension to make things work. The story is intriguing and the murders compelling; Dennis Quaid is pretty good in the lead role, and Zhang Ziyi is surprisingly creepy in hers. Its main fault is that it crumbles in the final act, as Callaham's attempts to do something unique fail all around. The ending is equally predictable and anticlimactic; a few tweaks would have been the difference between a forgettable direct-to-DVD release and a small theatrical release.
Horsemen works on a basic level, but it is such an obvious rip-off of Seven that it's just begging for comparisons. Unfortunately, those comparisons aren't flattering, especially after the movie falls apart near the end.
Review by Erik Samdahl unless otherwise indicated.
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