Movie Review - Horsehead
Horsehead, the feature length debut from French writer-director Romain Basset and co-writer Karim Cherieguene, is a visually stunning masterpiece. It is a nightmarish dreamscape that is both beautiful and incredibly disorienting. It is reminiscent of the works of Dario Argento and Mario Bava, though it is strikingly original. It is an experiment in surrealistic film making that is nothing short of visionary. Available on DVD June 23rd from Artsploitation Films, Horsehead is not to be missed.
Typically, I would have given a plot synopsis in my own words, but in this case I don't know if I could do a better job of summarizing this surreal cinematic experience. And that is a credit to the film makers, whose vision is so bizarre and unsettling that it is unlike anything I have ever experienced before in my life. It plays like a cross between an Italian Giallo Film and a Nine Inch Nails video, with an aggressive visual tone that is completely arresting. The director uses a vibrant color palette to give Jessica's nightmares a presence which make them feel all the more shocking and terrifying. My hats off to both the director and his co-writer for producing one of the most original and memorable horror films in years.
But it isn't just the film makers who contribute to the success of the film, the amazing visual effects department and talented cast help breathe life into the narrative. I have to mention the man behind the visual effects, Cyril Conforti, and his collaborators in the special effects makeup department, Odet Barrierre and David Sherer, for their breathtaking work in bringing her dreams to life. And the entire cast was solid, with standout performances by the legendary Murray Head and the absolutely lovely Lilly-Fleur Pointeaux. Murray Head is extremely charismatic as Jim, who treats Jessica with more familial affection than her cold and distant mother. And Pointeaux is spectacular as Jessica, who travels through both dreams and reality with an understated confidence that is captivating. Her performance is truly remarkable. If you're a fan of bold visual horror films and experimental narrative story telling, this is an absolute must see. It is well executed on every level possible and I highly recommend it. The DVD will be available on June 23rd from Artsploitation Films... don't miss it.
- Leo Francis