Horsemen of the Apocalypse (2009)
By: James Gillett on December 22, 2009  | 
DVD
Icon (Australia) Region B, 1080P, 24fps. 1:85:1 (16:9 Enhanced.) English DD 5.1 90 minutes
The Movie
Cover Art
Credits
Director: Jonas ┼kerlund
Starring: Dennis Quaid, Ziyi Zhang, Lou Taylor Pucci, Clifton Collins Jr., Liam James
Screenplay: Dave Callaham
Country: USA
External Links
Purchase IMDB YouTube
Horsemen of the Apocalypse (or simply Horsemen as it's known in the US) was intended for the big screen, but ended up going straight to Video in the US and UK, and also here in OZ. A newie from Platinum Dunes, a production company best known for their constant stream of horror remakes, making this something of a departure for them, Horsemen ended up undergoing significant reshoots some 12 months after filming, which in turn created a few minor issues.

Most notably, Neal McDonough (Ravenous) who originality played a Police Chief, was unavailable to reappear, and had to be replaced (the part ended up going to Chelcie Ross). Also amusingly, Clifton Collins Jr.(Rules of Attraction), who has a reasonably large part as a cop 'Stingray' had since shaved his hair for a another film, and had to don a wig and fake moustache.

Now, not that these issues are insurmountable; a small recast isn't a huge deal, neither is a stick-on stache, but significant reshoots never exactly indicate a singular confidant vision. It all comes down to a 'movie by committee' feeling that seems to hold the film back, but I'm getting ahead of myself. First, the story...

Detective Aidan Breslin (Dennis Quaid) lost his wife a few years before, leaving him bitter and emotionally distant from his two young sons. With his latest disturbing violent serial killer case taking up most of his time, the rift between him and his kids worsens as the clues unfold. Soon a link between him and the case becomes apparent, as does the killer(s) obsession with the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse.

There's not much more you really need to know about Horsemen going in. This is another 'cop with a crappy home life after a serial killer' thriller, and it won't be the last. Director Jonas Åkerlund (Spun) set out to make this one feel dark and gritty, as tends to be the fashion these days, and does a reasonable job. He'd need to, because the script (or at least as it's presented here post re-shoots) isn't particularly inspiring, even if it does attempt to put some focus on the protagonists life outside the case. The Four Horsemen link is also mildly intriguing, but it all tends to play out in a fairly predictable fashion, with a few strange plot hole contrivances.

But if that can be overlooked, fans of this sub-genre will find a reasonably entertaining diversion. A scene that begins with a tense back and forth in a diner, and ends with a victim hung up on a series of suspension hooks, proves particularly effective. Those approaching this movie for the grizzly set-pieces however will be disappointed. This is not really a horror film in the vein of Saw, like it's sometimes represented. Horsemen is closer to your typical Se7en like thriller, and like that film, much of the violence occurs off screen.

In terms of the cast, their mostly fine, even if some appear to be phoning it in occasionally (yes, that means you Clifton Collins Jr., though I give full points to that fake moustache). Ziyi Zhang (Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon) is interesting, if somewhat miscast as a villainess. Apart from her struggles speaking English, she seems to be playing someone of about 16, and naturally looks much older. Thankfully we have the usually reliable Dennis Quaid to hold it all together. He's good as the bitter detective, without being spectacular, which is fine. Really, this flick is lucky to have him.
Video
A very good looker indeed. Presented in 1:85:1 at 24p, Horsemen's transfer is practically without fault. The dark cinematography is impressively displayed with high detail and deep contrast. Great.
Audio
A choice of either DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 or 2.0 Stereo. The Master Audio track is uniformly strong. Dialogue is clear and crisp while the surround makes great use of subtitle sound effects, creating a fine ambience.
Extra Features
We have a reasonably interesting Audio Commentary with director Jonas Akerlund and director of photography Eric Broms as they discuss the films technical's difficulties and casting, while also offering their person insights into the film.

Also on offer is a Deleted Scenes reel running to 11:44mins, with your usual assortment of trimmed scenes you won't miss.
The Verdict
Movie Score
Disc Score
Overall Score
Basically you've seen it all before, done better, which strangely enough seems to be the Platinum Dunes motto. Horsemen of the Apocalypse has its moments, and the dark tone doesn't hurt, but it all just feels like your average Se7en derivative. Worth a rental for fans of the 'Cop after a killer' sub-genre. Others might not be so forgiving.

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