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HTF DVD Review: Horsemen

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#1 of 1 OFFLINE   Todd Erwin

Todd Erwin


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  • Join Date: Apr 16 2008
  • Real Name:Todd Erwin
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Posted July 13 2009 - 07:21 AM

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  • Studio: Lionsgate
  • US DVD Release Date: July 14, 2009
  • Theatrical Release Year: 2009
  • Rated: R (for grisly and disturbing content, some sexual images and language)
  • Running Time: 90 minutes
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1 anamorphic
  • Audio: English (Dolby Digital 5.1, Dolby Digital 2.0 Surround)
  • Subtitles: English (SDH), Spanish
Movie: 2.5 out of 5
When a pile of bloody teeth are found on a silver platter in the middle of a frozen pond surrounded by trees with the words “Come and See” painted in red, detective and forensic odontology expert Aidan Breslin (Dennis Quaid) is called in by the Sherriff’s Department. Breslin is widowed, and growing more and more distant from his sons Alex (Lou Taylor Pucci) and Sean (Liam James, from USA Network’s Psych), losing himself in his job. Suddenly, a woman is found murdered in her home, suspended from hooks with the words “Come and See” painted on the walls. After a second victim is discovered, Breslin finds that he has a team of serial killers on his hands, re-enacting the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse from the Book of Revelation.

For almost the first hour, Horsemen is an above-average serial killer thriller, thanks in most part to Dennis Quaid’s performance, supported by a talented cast, including Paul Dooley (Breaking Away) as a priest, Ziyi Zhang (Memoirs of a Geisha, House of Flying Daggers) as the adopted daughter of the first victim, and Chelcie Ross (Major League, Drag Me To Hell) as the police chief. Then director Jonas Akerlund decides to show the torture of the first victim from a DVD of the incident recorded by one of the horsemen, as well as the torture of the third victim in full cinematic style and the death of the fourth victim in the final act. While the crime scenes earlier in the film were disturbing, I felt these later sequences to be over the top, allowing the film to delve into “gore porn.” I am not a squeamish person when it comes to graphic material depicted in movies or television, as I am capable of distancing myself and distinguishing between fact and fiction. Gore for gore’s sake is not entertainment. In addition, the third act just completely unravels, becoming implausible and too preachy.

Video: 3.5 out of 5
The 1.78:1 anamorphic video is virtually free of compression artifacts and noise with solid colors and black levels. There are no signs of edge enhancement or digital noise reduction.

Audio: 3 out of 5
Lionsgate has provided both Dolby Digital 5.1 (at 448 kbps) and Dolby Digital 2.0 Surround (at 192 kbps) English soundtracks for Horsemen. Most people will opt for the 5.1 track, so that’s what I’ll review here. Dialogue is well-centered and intelligible, with music and atmospheric effects placed in the fronts and surrounds. LFE and discrete surrounds are used sparingly but effectively.

Special Features: 3 out of 5
A very dry commentary track is provided with director Jonas Akerlund and director of photography Eric Broms. These guys are old friends and discuss shooting in Winnipeg, reshooting a year later in Chicago, casting choices, and hints at how some of the make-up and visual effect were achieved, although there are some long passages of silence.

A set of eight deleted scenes are also provided (without commentary) as well as trailers for My Bloody Valentine 3-D, The Haunting in Connecticut, Five Fingers, Saw V, The Burrowers, Break.com, and Fear Net. Both the deleted scenes and trailers are in non-anamorphic video.

In addition, the DVD comes in an eco-friendly keepcase with a paperboard oversleeve.

Overall: 2.5 out of 5
Horsemen is a step above the gore porn that passes for horror these days (which isn’t saying much), and is redeemed somewhat by Dennis Quaid’s performance. As a package, this is a decent disc, but I can only barely recommend it.