This violent thriller, in the tradition of revenge classics like Straw Dogs and Death Wish, is not for the faint-hearted. After the body of his daughter Jessica is found dumped in a Brisbane industrial area following a heroin overdose, Christian (Peter Marshall) is mysteriously sent a porn video of what may have been Jessica’s last hours alive. This leads him to track down those involved in the film and exact bloody retribution.
Never before has the average toolbox provided such a deadly arsenal. In meting out his justice, Christian uses a knife, hammer and crowbar to slay his victims. And, as the body count rises, so does his inventiveness: petrol, gym weight, football pump, even a nasal spray and a garden hose are turned into terrifying weapons.
These scenes are truly discomforting, but Marshall is so good in the role, you find yourself rooting for him with each and every brutal blow. Marshall’s Christian is a father not only wanting revenge over his daughter’s death, but is also seeking absolution for failing as a parent.
Along for the ride is hitchhiker Alice (Caroline Marohasy), a teen herself, who is unaware of his vigilante mission. It is in these touching scenes that we see Christian’s humanity, and his need to make peace with himself. But this is no joyride, and what follows is a brilliant, terrifying twist that will have you guessing right up to the rain-and-mud-soaked bloodbath of a climax.
The Horseman is an unforgettable, extreme experience, and a great debut from first-time director Steven Kastissios.
Showing at Film4 FrightFest, Friday 28 August
Released 30 October