I’m going to have a hard time describing HORSEHEAD, however I can state with utter certainty that this is an amazing movie. It is a surreal trip into the bizarre, but it is also a potent fantasy/horror hybrid that fans of both genres will want to check out. And although it’s not perfect, it’s very close. Chocked full of symbolism and deeply-rooted religious undertones, this film will take you on a crazy and terrifying journey.
If you are not familiar with HORSEHEAD, here is the plot synopsis courtesy of Artsploitation Films:
Haunting and horrific, surreal and shocking, HORSEHEAD is a new horror-fantasy that pays tribute to the classic European shockers of Dario Argento and Mario Bava while also remaining a unique film with its own vision, delivering unforgettable images that both disturb and enchant. Director Romain Basset’s tale follows beautiful young Jessica (Lilly-Fleur Pointeaux) as she returns to her family’s countryside estate for her grandmother’s funeral. Haunted by recurring nightmares of a horse-headed monster, Jessica attempts to put her studies of “lucid dreaming” to good use, as she semi-consciously navigates through this dream landscape, trying to discover the secrets behind this sinister apparition. But Jessica must also cope with a hostile mother (The Beyond‘s Catriona MacColl), and the growing realization that the death of her grandmother was actually a suicide triggered by the woman’s past traumas and visions. HORSEHEAD is a feverish, ethereal journey through the world of nightmares.
I enjoyed this movie on several levels. Visually, it’s a veritable feast of imagery that both assaults and entices the eyes. Also, the symbolism in many aspects is very astute; there are emblematic examples everywhere. And finally, the story itself is intriguing and riveting. I was entranced with the film from the get-go, and it never lost its enchantment.
HORSEHEAD is shot well and, as mentioned, looks amazing onscreen. The HD picture of the Blu-ray is astoundingly crisp, and the vivid imagery explodes from the screen like a bouquet of bright flowers. This is a huge draw for the movie in itself, but when combined with the story, it makes for an almost perfect film experience.
The acting is very good, with Lilly-Fleur Pointeaux portraying the main character Jessica. Pointeaux is surrounded by a great supporting cast, and the group plays off of one another well.
The story in HORSEHEAD is brilliant, however the execution is slightly off. By this, I mean some of the aspects of the plot are meant to be insinuated, yet they aren’t keyed on enough for clarification. I had to make many assumptions to reach the conclusion I came to about the ending, which is both a win and a frustration; I almost think I’d rather have a solid ending rather than that which is in the film…even though the current ending does work.
I know those last few sentences sound confusing, but you need to see the movie to truly understand what I’m talking about. And see the movie you should! HORSEHEAD is a powerful film, and I highly recommend giving it a look. It is available now in a variety of formats, but try to check it out on Blu-ray; you won’t be sorry with the picture quality.