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The West Wing
Starring: Dennis Quaid, Ziyi Zhang, Lou Taylor Pucci, Clifton Collins Jr.
Detective Aiden Breslin is put on the case of a group of brutal murders based on the biblical story of the coming of the four horsemen of the apocalypse. As his involvement in the case increases, so too does his son's desperation to get his attention- something they've not had since their mother passed away.
I can't decide which I've been seeing more of lately: movies and TV shows involving homicide detectives, or or movies involving bible themed serial killing. Both are in huge abundance lately, and “The Horsemen” bridges the gap by having both... a homicide detective investigating bible themed serial killing. Will wonders never cease? (Now if they'll just bring back “Detroit 1-8-7” for a second season!)
Detective Aiden Breslin is called out into the middle of nowhere one winter day to a crime scene, but when he gets there he finds no body... only a silver platter filled with teeth (he happens to be a teeth expert- able to discern how old someone is and what their diet is like simply by examining their teeth). Also at the scene, painted on four nearby trees (North, South, East, and West) are the words “Come and See”.
Not long after, Detective Breslin is called to another scene: a woman who was suspended by hooks and murdered, her unborn baby cut from her womb. The words “Come and See” are on the walls here too. The woman leaves behind her husband and 3 children (the eldest of which is an adopted Asian girl).
Another murder pops up soon after with the same M.O.: suspended by hooks with “Come and See” written on the walls. Thanks to footprint analysis, Breslin discerns that there is not a murderer, but rather a group of 4.
The detective's youngest son sees the photos of the words from the crime scenes and wonders where they are from. This gets Breslin's mind in the right direction and he discovers it's a passage from the bible from the book of Revelations from the story of the coming of the four horsemen of the apocalypse. Evidence at the crime scenes indicate that the murders are directly linked to the passages. Not long after making this discovery does the first of the 4 murders turn herself in: the adopted daughter of the first victim!
When the second murderer makes the mistake of stabbing a would-be mugger, Breslin gets a positive I.D. and is on his way to stopping the next victim from being killed... until the murderer commits suicide in front of his victim.
Everything starts spinning out of control in the case as Breslin tries to find the answers he needs to find the 2 remaining Horsemen. His home life suffers because of it as his oldest son comes to hate him more and more with each time he's called away on the case.
“The Horsemen” follows a few different cliches, but somehow manages to feel fresh and interesting (and at some points even exciting)! As the story makes it's twists and turns and more information is revealed to Detective Breslin, we see that the story is in fact deeper than the blood of the victims (we'll forget the fact that for people who've been hung up and stabbed and even cut wide open, there is surprisingly little blood).
The acting is pretty good... in places. Dennis Quad gives his best performance in years, and Ziyi Zhang is both creepy as hell and sexy as hell (what scares me is that she pulls off both simultaneously)! The supporting cast, however (such as Detective Breslin's partner Stingray, as well as his sons) all fall flat. Stingray (played by Clifton Collins Jr.) has a few amusing lines, but for the most part he's just there so Quad has a partner to bounce ideas off. Even the sons, who in theory should be a major part of the story, seem more like props than characters (which might have actually been done on purpose to put us more in the mindset of Detective Breslin... he doesn't see much of his own children due to his involvement in the case, so why should we?).
I was disappointed with the special effects department. It seems like, with the nature of these kills, there should be far more blood than there actually was. After a scene where someone is litterally cut open with a surgical buzzsaw, there's little more than some light splattering on and around his body. The coroner says “It's the closest I've ever seen to someone cutting out their own heart”.... so when we see the full chest wound, shouldn't it look a bit more horrific than just a line of blood down the chest?
Despite it's flaws, “The Horsemen” is an engaging thriller that I had a lot of fun watching. And with a short run time of only 90 minutes (which includes the end credits), there's no slow pacing. Everything that happens in the film happens for a reason and happens quickly.
I give “The Horsemen” a 3.5 out of 5.
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