Thursday, April 30, 2015

HORSEHEAD (Review)

HORSEHEAD (2014)


aka. Fievre

review by AARON ALLEN

Directed by Romain Basset

Starring Lilly-Fleur Pointeaux, Catriona MacColl, Murray Head, Gala Besson

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Move over Freddy Krueger, there's a new terror stalking the dream world, and he's a true nightmare

Starring a cast of unknowns, seasoned actors, and horror genre icons (in the form of City of the Living Dead's Catriona Macoll), HORSEHEAD is a beautifully realized horror-thriller about the power and terror of dreams. Under the guidance of director Romain Basset, Horsehead unravels one family's dark secrets with startling and surreal cinematographic techniques reminiscent of Dario Argento's most dream-like works. Nightmares and reality meld on a lucid journey of light and sound through the mind where the ominous Horsehead lurks in the shadowy recesses of the subconscious.


Jessica (Lilly-Fleur Pointeaux) is a student of psychophysiology: the study of how the psychological processes of the mind can effect the reality of the body. Of particular interest to her is the psychophysiological nature of dreams since she is being haunted by reoccurring nightmares. When she gets a call that her Grandmother has died, however, she must take leave from her studies to travel back to her family home for the funeral and to reunite with her cold, estranged mother (Catriona MacColl). Things go from bad to worse as her nightmares become more vivid and terrifying, featuring twisted appearances by her deceased grandmother, her mother, and the reoccurring figure of a man in a cardinal's outfit with a giant horse head and wretched claws. Believing that there's an urgent meaning to her nightmares, Jessica begins to practice lucid dreaming -- the process of inducing sleep while attempting to control and direct one's dreams -- to uncover the subconscious message. Bedridden, Jessica tumbles down the rabbit hole and discovers a dark secret etched in her family's bloodline and restless spirits clawing at the fringes of reality. Will Jessica be able to piece the truth together before the monstrous Horsehead catches up to her?

Horshead will be meeting all you "neigh"-sayers in your dreams.
Horsehead is a film driven by its trippy imagery. It's a little light on plot, but that's to say nothing disparaging of its story-telling power. Horsehead paints a story of a family's pain, loss, and oppression using the cryptic symbology of dreams and metaphor. But it's the furthest thing from pretentious! Horsehead succeeds where Rob Zombie's Lords of Salem and so many other aimless experimental films fail. It's not just a random collage of strange music video imagery; Horsehead's psycho-sexual nightmare sequences have a very real and very tightly controlled story-telling purpose. As Jessica tumbles like a doomed Little Nemo through the levels of her dreams, she unravels clues and keys to a family secret that is at the heart of the film and will keep you guessing every step of the way.
Gore-geous effects and lighting bring Horsehead's nightmares to reality
Horsehead is a dream release for fans of horror cinematography, replete with lush and beautifully rendered scenes of phantasmagorical beauty and nightmarish horror. To call Horsehead an "arthouse" horror film does not do it justice. It's an artistic yet readily accessible symbolic tale and a master class in visual storytelling unlike anything being done in the mainstream Hollywood horror machine. And what a treat it is to see Fulci film staple Catriona MacColl (City of the Living Dead, The Beyond, The House By the Cemetery) back in action with all the gravitas of her years!

Do yourself a favor and see Horsehead for an experience in horror that you will never forget.

Horsehead comes to DVD, Blu-ray, and VOD in Canada on May 5th from Black Fawn Distribution. Pre-order your copy at blackfawndistribution.com



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