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Film / Horsemen

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Horsemen is a 2009 American thriller film directed by Jonas Åkerlund and starring Dennis Quaid and Zhang Ziyi. It follows Aidan Breslin (Dennis Quaid) a bitter and emotionally distracted detective who has grown apart from his two sons after the death of his devoted wife. While investigating a series of murders he discovers a terrifying link between himself and the suspects that seem to be based on the Biblical prophecies concerning the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse: Pestilence, War, Famine, and Death.

Needs More Love.

Horsemen Provides examples of:

  • Abusive Parents: Kristen (Zhang Ziyi), The War horseman, murders her adoptive mother, because her father continually molested her at night, and her mother did nothing to stop him.
  • Angst: Alex is constantly distant from his dad, due to him being pulled away very often, and not dropping a case to be with his dying wife.
  • Antagonistic Offspring:
    • Played straight with Kristen, as she killed her mother because the latter covered up the abuse Kristen received from her father.
    • Downplayed with Alex. He resents his father for not being there for his mother when she was dying, but Alex doesn't kill his father, only knocks him and makes him watch his (Alex's) death.
  • Antagonist Title: The title of the movie are the four horsemen who go on a ritualistic, killing spree.
  • Anti-Villain: The Horsemen, as they only kill people guilty of heinous crime.
  • Apocalypse How: The four horsemen-based murders are designed to begin the apocalypse: The final death, streamed live to a website of millions of depressed adolescents suffering abandonment, neglect, and abuse, will incite them to begin the destruction of society.
  • Arc Number: Four.
  • Asshole Victim:
    • Kristen's mother turned out to have let her daughter be molested by her husband.
    • Subverted with the second victim. Garrison lied to the others that the man molested his son which is why they killed him.
    • Subverted with Taylor. At first, it seems like Corey is about to kill his brother, but he uses the saw on himself while making his brother watch.
  • Big Brother Bully: Taylor is this to Corey, as he repeatedly notes how disgusted he is with his brother being gay and making disparaging remarks despite seeing how visibly hurt his little brother is.
  • Bitch in Sheep's Clothing: Double Subverted with Kristen. She was seen mourning her mother's murder with her two sisters until she creepily reveals, she killed her mother... because said mother allowed Kristen's father to continuously molest her.
  • Bittersweet Ending: Alex didn't die, but he's going to jail for his crimes along with the fact that there are other Horsemen out there plotting an apocalypse. And the end implies that Aidan will be there more for Sean.
  • Break the Haughty: Taylor starts off an arrogant, Big Brother Bully who makes it known to Corey that he disapproves of him being gay. The aftermath of Taylor being forced to watch Corey rip out his own heart clearly shakes him up and he is left in a blubbering mess the last time he is seen.
  • Brilliant, but Lazy: How one of Alex's teachers describe him. He doesn't have to do much to succeed, so he doesn't try at all.
  • Bring My Brown Pants: Taylor starts pissing himself when he believes Corey is about to murder him.
  • Color Motifs: The four horsemen are represented by four colors — Conquest (white), War (red), Pestilence (black), and Death (green).
  • Cool Big Bro: Alex has shown to take diligent care of Sean.
  • Creepy Child: While not a child, Kristen opens up into this persona after she reveals that she killed her mother and is the War horseman.
  • Even Evil Has Standards: The other Horsemen killed Garrison because he tricked them into killing an innocent.
  • A Fate Worse Than Death: Kristen's reason for murdering her mother instead of her father. She thought her father living without his soulmate was way worse than him actually being dead.
  • Forced to Watch: Corey, the Death Horseman, forces Taylor to watch him cut out his own heart.
  • Four Is Death: There are four horsemen who intend to carry out four deaths.
  • Gayngst: Corey is gay and while his parents accept him, his older brother, Taylor, makes it vehemently clear that he doesn't.
  • Happily Adopted: Kristen was adopted by her parents when she was eight and given her grief over her mother's torture and murder, she clearly loved them. Subverted, in that it was an act and her adoptive parents were abusive jerks.
  • Harmful to Minors: Alex chastises Aidan for leaving his work - which includes pictures of dead bodies - around for the young Sean to see.
  • Married to the Job: Deconstructed. Aidan's devotion to his work means he hardly can spend time with his sons and the main reason he wasn't there when his wife was dying. This is also the reason why Alex became a Horsemen.
  • Matricide: Kristen murdered her adoptive mother because she kept quiet over her husband molesting their daughter.
  • Missing Mom: Sean and Alex's mother died of cancer.
  • Nice Job Breaking It, Hero: If Aidan had just paid a little more attention to his kids, even took just a peek into Alex's room, he would have seen that he is severely disturbed by his father's neglect, and the Fourth horseman Conquest. He could've stopped many of the murders/suicides from ever happening.
  • Parents as People: Aidan does love his sons and wants to spend time with them, but his work pulls him away.
  • Posthumous Character: Aidan's wife is dead by the movie's beginning.
  • Real Life Writes the Plot: Sean's actor has heterochromia, and therefore, so does Sean in the movie.
  • Recycled Premise: The film is basically Se7en, but with the murders based on the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse instead of the Seven Deadly Sins.
  • When You Coming Home, Dad?: Both Alex and Sean want to spend time with Aidan, and so does Aidan himself, but his job keeps him away from them.