'Horsemen' Blasts Out of the Starting Gate, but Finishes Out of the Money

by PotionsMaster@evpl on Tuesday, August 18 2009, 10:20am. Viewed 616 times.

I admit it, I like horror movies and the 'psychological thriller' genre.  I like the delicious 'scared-but-not-really' feeling they give and besides, it gives me an excuse to latch on to my husband for dear life.  I also have a life that for the most part revolves around horses, so when I saw a horror flick called 'Horsemen', I just had to pick it up.  Starring Dennis Quaid and Zhang Ziyi (Sayuri from 'Memoirs of a Geisha'), it has pretty big names attached to it.  I didn't remember hearing about it, or even seeing it released in theatres.  That should have been a clue. 

Right off the bat, the movie catapults you into frozen solid Michigan and an old man discovering a platter of bloody teeth with his dog.  "Come and See" is daubbed on 4 trees in red paint.  Interesting (and creepy) enough to catch my interest and hold it.  Dennis Quaid is the haggard, emotionally down and struggling father and detective featured who apparently is an expert in forensic odontology (teeth).  

The first murder scene happens the next day and is very 'red'; the colors are very important in this movie.  The body is hung from steel fish hooks from a specially made rack and has a necklace with a sword around its neck.  Also important.  The second murder scene has a 'black' theme and again, the body was strung up on fish hooks and sported a necklace, this one was a set of balances.  Both murder scenes had 'Come and See' written on four walls.

As an art major, I understand symbolism and how it is used, particularly color.  I started to recognize the pattern, and growing up Roman Catholic, the symbolism and movie title started to make sense.  The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse are White (Conquest), Red (War), Black (Pestilence), and Death (Green).  The Red rider carries a sword and the Black rider carries the balances.  "Come and See" are words spoken throughout the passage in the New Testament that describes the Four Horsemen.  At this point in the movie, you can expect to see at least two more bodies, and make a pretty good guess as to what colors and how the bodies will be found.  The movie seems to have a predictable pattern, but then a wrench gets thrown in which I absolutely loved.

A body is found in a run down hotel, same killing manner, but it isn't strung up on a rack.  'Come and See' is only written on three walls, not four.  My husband and I had fun guessing what was happening, and we agreed that it was probably one of the 'horsemen' that needed to be gotten rid of somehow.  But it was the scene when Death showed up that was what really was the movie's climax for me, even though it technically wasn't the 'end'.  Once more, the fish hooks and rack were used and the over-all color was green, but the body wasn't hanging: it was in front of the person on the rack. 

I won't ruin everything about the movie, but after Death makes an appearance, it's like the movie was made by a totally different director.  It becomes rushed and transparent.  The guessing factor is taken away from the viewer and that detracts incredibly from the whole experience; it no longer is 'suspenseful' and ruins any scary factor.  The culmination of the final Horseman in the movie is very easily guessed where and how, and you can figure out for yourself if you think for a moment on the 'why'; the clues are throughout the entire movie.  The message of the Horsemen in the movie is well done, and the ending is well executed visually.  The acting is fine.  It just lacks that certain sparkle that would have made this movie from 'decently good' to 'WOW! That was one of the best horror movies I've seen in a while!'

I almost wish it was 20 years down the road so someone would remake it...I feel unsatisfied after watching it.  It has so much potential to be so good, but it just can't seem to break that barrier in the last half hour.  It's a shame.

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