I’d really been looking forward to watching Horsehead for a while now, and after watching the trailer I can fully say that it doesn’t compare to what you’ll be in store for if you watch this.

Directed by Romain Basset

Starring Lilly-Fleur Pointeaux, Catriona MacColl, Murray Head, Gala Besson, Fu’ad Aït Aattou, Vernon Dobtcheff and Phillippe Nahon 

Check out the trailer here:

The beginning of the movie has an almost Dracula-esque feel to it, with the gothic colour scheme and decor and the idea of a menacing figure coming to terrorise a young woman, Jessica’s (Pointeaux), dream. Straight away it grabs your attention and draws you into a haunting nightmare scene.

The title sequence to the movie really holds some incredible cinematography, the shots and the closeups really reveal a lot about what horrors are on offer within the movie. Overlaid is the information about dreams and nightmares which is a really interesting addition that helps you understand a little bit more of what’s going on within the main story. The cinematography in addition to the beautiful musical score really helped to create this ghostly dream world that you almost feel a part of as the viewer. The silence during some parts really adds to the haunting atmosphere, and then the music in other parts keeps you entwined with a beautiful yet grotesque dreamscape. The addition of the horse-type figure I felt had a lot of meanings but can relate back to the painting ‘the nightmare’ which is really relevant here. All the elements present in the movie really allows your emotions to grow as the events unfold.

The use of negative space during this movie as well as the lighting gave off an almost ‘Kubrick’ feel. The negative space helped show us the loneliness and instability that Jessica felt throughout her uncovering of a family secret. Her struggle was eloquently played out with the use of strong colours and black spaces to symbolise a multitude of emotions and struggles as she tries to desperately find out what happened to her Grandmother. The film even goes to drawing inspiration from Little Red Riding Hood and very much feels like Wonderland at some points during the dream sequences. The styling of Horsehead was flawless and really built itself a new, terrifying universe.

Our main character Jessica is very likeable throughout, and I could empathise with her ordeal as she was desperately trying to uncover a multitude of distressing elements from her family history. From the beginning of the movie, I was desperate to know about her story and why she’s having these horrifying dreams. Her mother Catelyn (MacColl) is cold hearted in ways toward her daughter which lead me to distrusting her throughout. I wanted to know why she was being this way – the characters themselves had me asking so many questions that I wanted to uncover with Jessica. The characters had their own explorations throughout and you could choose which character you empathised with more. I could see that Jim (Head) really had his heart in the wrong place but was conflicted between two others which made me feel for him, knowing that he just wanted to know what was going on. Characters such as Rose (Besson) and Winston (Aattou) really made me uneasy, horrifying me as I found out their involvement in Jessica’s family history. The entire cast did a fantastic job at keeping the characters complex and interesting, keeping me entwined with the world they’d created. The horse figure itself was a horrifying element and really kept me on edge during the dream sequences.

I really can’t get enough of this movie, and I feel that I could watch it over and over again. It was so haunting and kept my on my toes. The director himself is incredible at story telling, and for his first feature – I am speechless. Horsehead is an incredible piece of film-making with a gripping end. I really couldn’t recommend this one more – be sure to check it out! I give Horsehead 5 skulls out of 5 (☠☠☠☠☠).

To see more of Horsehead, you can have a look at Artsploitation Films on Facebook and on their website. Have a look at the movie itself of Facebook, too!

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