Friday, May 15, 2015

The Horseman, Revenge in Australia

Be warned, this is not an easy one to endure.  Fishing line, fishing hooks, pliers, acid, a tire iron, blow torch, garden clippers, and tools I don't know the name of are means of torture in 2008's Australian film, "The Horseman." To make matters worse, Peter Marshall plays the protagonist who is so upset at the death of his daughter, he uses these tools on the most painful places of the human body...including the male genitalia.  This is not a feel good revenge film, as it is about so much more than tracking down fiends.  Is our anti-hero angry at the monsters that were responsible for the death of his daughter? Or is he angry at himself for not being the father he should have been?  Or, most frightening to Christian (Marshall) he not accepting of the increasing apparent fact that his daughter may have sealed her fate with her own free will?
Christian is told of the death of his daughter (Hannah Levien).  The details are abhorrent.  Her toxicology reports indicate she was full of heroine, alcohol, and semen.  In a heart breaking scene, Christian combs through her bedroom looking for clues to her death.  He uncovers a video called "Young City Sluts 2" (not yet reviewed on this blog) staring....his daughter.  The shock is too much for him, and he quickly becomes focused on murdering everyone who was involved in the video.  Equipped with his gear (he is an exterminator), he begins a quest to visit (..and dissect) the producer, cameraman, distributor, and co-stars.  Only remembering his daughter in happier times, Christian is in total denial that his princess chose her career.  When the aforementioned members of the film crew remind Christian of his daughter's free will, his means of torture become more nefarious.  As he is in the midst of his gruesome quest, which leaves very bloodied bodies for the police to find, he meets Alice (Caroline Marohasy).  This 18 year old hitchhiker obviously has made some wrong decisions, but Christian sees in her a young lady beginning to turn her life he would have liked to have seen his daughter have done.
In destroying the fiends in the porn industry, Christian also becomes determined to save Alice from future bad decisions.  He may have failed at being a good dad to his deceased daughter, but protecting Alice (...and she will need protection) gives him a chance at redemption.  As Christian goes through the crew of "Young City Sluts 2" like crap through a goose (there's that phrase again), he is about to hit a snag.  The male lead, Derek (Brad McMurray) is waiting for him.  The element of surprise is no longer Christian's ally, and he is about run across a truly evil force.  Uh oh...Derek also has plans for Alice as he realizes that Christian has anointed himself her protector.  What happens in the last 30 minutes will be difficult to view (...and I have to tell you, the first 60 minutes were not easy).
Stomach turning....heartbreaking...gory..and without an ounce of humor, "The Horseman" will give you an emotional work-out.  Some may term this film "torture-porn," however it serves as a terrific character study of a flawed, but good man who must endure his daughter's sordid death.  Christian admits he can no longer feel..which doesn't bode well for his selected prey.  In fact, in a part of the story, not for the queasy, we see Christian has become a cutter.  If this is intriguing to you, "The Horseman" can be found on Netflix.  

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