The newest French film though that has seemed to get some of the best buzz out of the community in recent memory is Romain Basset’s 2014 film Horsehead, which can only be described in a few words”what the hell is going on." It is clear to say that I have watched a lot of films in my life, heck even during the time that I had in film school I took multiple film theory classes that pushed the boundaries of the way I think about cinema. So when I am able to find a film that confuses me in a way that I do not totally understand what the filmmaker was trying to get across is always a positive thing in my eyes. It can show me that filmmakers are still capable to create films that make me think which in today’s world is very rare. It is films like Horsehead that keep me excited to see what the horror genre has in the future because I think the film is going to be discussed for years to come.
It is not only the story though that I think the film is going to be discussed but also the visuals. The film is a piece of art, there is no denying that, not only is the lighting BEAUTIFUL but things like the set design, sound design and acting all contribute to this visual style that can be compared to David Lynch’s Eraserhead.
So, what is the story about then that makes it confusing? Well, the film follows Jessica (Lilly-Fleur Pointeaux) who since her childhood as been experiencing these nightmares with a creature that is half-human-half-horse. Jessica does not quite understand the meaning to this creature or how it attributes to the meaning of her life. It is with these nightmares that Jessica decides to focus her life on studying the psycho-physiology of dreams and trying to understand her own. It is when Jessica receives a phone call from her mother that her Grandmother has passed away causes Jessica to return to her childhood home for the funeral. It is here that we start to see the true substance to the film and Jessica’s mental state has she starts to dig deeper into her family secrets hoping to find the answers to what her nightmares truly mean. It is at this moment that the film starts to get extremely confusing as the audience is presented with nothing but extreme nightmare visuals that sometimes make no sense at all.
I feel though there is a deeper meaning here to these visuals that what meets the eye, sure maybe Basset was just trying to create a visually beautiful film, but I do not think that is the case. I can see many different theories being applied here especially Freudian concepts. I am not an expert on Freud’s ideas of the subconscious and the meaning of dreams but from what I do know about these theories it is clear to say that they highly influenced the film. I wish I could comment on these ideas in deeper detail but to be totally honest I do not think I have the qualifications to do so. Maybe after a few more viewings the film will start to make more sense to me but after viewing the film only once, I am happy to report that this is one film that you should not pass up on. I think it is going to be years from now that we see another film that is this visual stunning and thought provoking in what it is trying to achieve. If you have the opportunity to pick up Artsploitation’s release of Horsehead plus do yourself a favor because I think the film is truly special.
The picture quality in this release had to be stunning because the film is highly based upon its visuals and I am happy to report that the film does not disappoint. The film looks fantastic with all the colors literally popping off the screen. Even during some of the lower lighting scenes in the film the picture was still able to hold true to what it was trying to achieve and overall is a beautiful bluray release by Artsploitation
As I have stated multiple times in my past reviews that I am not a sound expert, I only base my rating here on what I think the film sounds like. I am happy to report that just like the picture quality that the film sounds just as fantastic as it looks. You will have no problems here.
The film has some really interesting special features on it but the most impressive is an hour featurette of the making of the film which gets into some really good details about what it took to bring this visually stunning film to the screen. It made me really appreciate the film even more. There is also a set of short-films from the director on this set also, overall a good package of special features.