The Movie Waffler New Release Review - <i>Of Horses & Men</i> | The Movie Waffler

New Release Review - Of Horses & Men

Episodic equine extravaganza.

Directed by: Benedikt Erlingsson
Starring: Ingvar Eggert Sigurdsson, Charlotte Boving, Helgi Bjornsson

We've had plenty of horror anthologies, now we have a horse anthology, a Pony Portmanteau, if you will. Benedikt Erlingsson's film does, however, closely follow the structure of the episodic horror movies Amicus studios and their like flooded the market with during the 1970s. The individual stories here all conclude, to some degree, with twist endings, often with quite gruesome results.
The proud owner of a splendid white mare is mortified when an escaped stallion has his wicked way with the mare, in front of a bunch of onlookers. An alcoholic steals a horse in order to swim out to a Russian ship, from which he intends to purchase some alcohol. A Spanish tourist is left for dead when he fails to keep up with his Icelandic riding companions. An elderly man has an unfortunate encounter with barbed wire while trying to free another man's horses. Finally, the copulation of the opening chapter is repeated in reverse, as two randy humans get it on next to their embarrassed equine companions.
Scandinavians have a particularly black sense of humour, one which this reviewer generally appreciates, but the arch comedy displayed in Of Horses & Men is particularly demanding, leaving the viewer equal parts amused and bemused. There's something oddly fascinating about the insanity of the Icelandic psyche as it's portrayed here, but much of the narrative feels like it's lost something in translation. Would Icelanders react with laughter as a man dies from alcohol poisoning or another plummets to his death in a tractor? The Irish audience I viewed it with were silent throughout, with barely a guffaw to be heard.
A closing title card tells us that no horses were harmed in the film's production and that the cast and crew are all horse owners themselves. We're left knowing who Of Horses & Men was made by, but clueless as to who it was made for.

Eric Hillis