Horsemen Of The Apocalypse (2009)

Horsemen of the Apocalypse is a fruit bowl of a movie. You will enjoy some of it, you will hate some of it, you will be massively indifferent to some of it, but essentially you’ll forget it almost instantly as you’ve seen it a thousand times before.

Detective Aidan Breslin (Dennis Quaid), expert in dental criminology or something equally ridiculous, is sucked into a twisted murder case that is as bizarre as it is grotesque. Starting with a platter of ripped-out human teeth being discovered on an icy lake, Breslin quickly realizes they’re up against a group of people whose beliefs are nearly as dangerous as their actions. When more victims appear, displayed in horrible circumstances, it’s a race against time to stop the murderers from committing the final, devastating act that could signify the end of times…

Initially the most troubling and scary thing about Horsemen of the Apocalypse is Clifton Collins Jnr’s dodgy moustache, but it quickly plunges you into a depressing world of torture, murder and Bible-referencing messages of apocalyptical doom. This is not a scary film but a grotesque one, following the same trail as Saw and Seven and many other thriller / horrors of a similar ilk. There is little to thrill, however, and we move from crime scene to crime scene with little surprise or originality and the plot is so unrealistic and pointlessly twisting you find yourself not particularly caring.

The cover claims it to be Horsemen of the Apocalypse, but the film’s title screen proves it was originally called Horsemen, perhaps an indication of their intended audience’s expected intellect. The makers of Horsemen of the Apocalypse treat the audience like idiots, casting Oriental superstar Ziyi Zhang and the ever prolific Peter Stormare as the family of one of the victims and then treating them as incidental cameos, which clearly they aren’t. There is absolutely no surprise when they reappear later on. It is this kind of silly mistake that makes this a clunkingly pieced together attempt at a thriller. It is not angeringly awful, it is simply just dull.

Naturally our hero Breslin is a down-trodden struggling single-dad widower, a role Quaid slides into with minimum effort and bumbles through the clichéd dialogue and family scenes with grumbling necessity. He never overplays it, but he never really seems to care, and this indifference is infectious. It is only when the creepily captivating Ziyi Zhang or the next horrible crime scene appears that the story doesn’t sag incredibly. You feel desperately sorry for all the incidental characters in Breslin’s life too, as not only are they underwritten stereotypes, they also are so clearly in the firing line from the moment you see them that you just pity them, nothing more.

Horsemen of the Apocalypse is swimming in blood and cliché, an unoriginal and sturdy thriller that features nothing truly exciting but nothing truly loathsome. It merely happens.

Rating: ★★★★☆☆☆☆☆☆

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