On the Horizon (2015) – By Misty Layne


Editor’s Note:

Correction: We’ve been informed by the director that Casey’s ex from the beginning of the movie did NOT take him back after his mini-vacay with Elissa (which makes our reviewer incredibly happy); the girl our reviewer was referencing was simply another blonde. So you may kindly disregard these lines from the review – “He goes back to ex (who apparently happily greets him at first? Um…why?)…” [Paragraph 3]; AND “…his ex just saying, ‘Oh you ran off for a few weeks but now you’re back? Awesome!’…” [also Paragraph 3]. In place of those, we’ll just say, “WAY too many blondes for Casey, man.”

Also, apparently, Kristen Kerr as Kate was neither “cute” nor “bubbly” nor “absolutely charming” [Paragraph 5]. It seems instead that was Jade Harlow as Christine (aka the 90s beauty). Kristen Kerr as Kate is actually Elissa’s bff, who is fairly blunt and straightforward. The rest of the review remains as is.

Pascal Payant’s latest film, ON THE HORIZON, was a rather polarizing experience for me. The film is stunningly gorgeous. Breathtakingly surreal in its beauty. It’s also filled with very, very pretty people. Tyler Johnson and Alex Lundqvist can come knock on my door any day of the week. Totes. The thing was, I didn’t care about any of these very, very pretty people. About halfway into the film, after 45 minutes of very, very pretty people standing in drop dead gorgeous places being self-entitled, whiny, little pricks, I started hoping it was going to have a very ROMEO & JULIET ending…hey, it’s a romance, that’s a totally reasonable ending! Maybe not the BEST thing a girl could hope for though. Wasn’t the actors either because for the most part they were more than just pretty and carried their weight. *sighs* Okay, let’s break this down.

First and foremost, this is an intimate look at relationships, in particular the passionately effed up relationship of one Casey and one Elissa. Casey (Tyler Johnson) is a photographer living with a cute blond. His psycho ex, Elissa (Sandy Leddin), calls out the blue to say, “Hey! Left the boyfy – wanna play?” and he’s off in a second. Why? Because Elissa is a manic pixie dream girl. She’s all “the world is beautiful; let’s have fun; passion! passion!”. As soon as things start to get serious or intimate or seriously intimate though, Elissa freaks and runs. It’s her M.O. and Casey knows this before he leaves to go on a random road trip with her. So basically all they do is have sex and fight. Look, I get it. I do. I have been in this crazy, destructive to each other, can’t leave each other, “oh my god but the passion and no one else understands me like this” relationship. It is EVERYTHING and it is TERRIBLE. It’s a total trip. So I get why they’re engaging in the self-destructiveness. This part got too slow though because essentially during these first 30 minutes or so, in every fight they had, Casey would yell about how he loved her and Elissa would yell, “Let me out of the car!” or “I’m leaving!”. Fabulous. Either leave or find something new to say while you guys fight, please.

Of course Elissa eventually leaves Casey because DUH. And from there she goes back to her ex (Alex Lindqvist) while Casey becomes, well, for lack of a better term a f*ckboy. He goes back to his ex (who apparently happily greets him at first? Um…why?), then proceeds to go moping around (and I do mean MOPING around with a pretty little pout), screwing who he likes and just leaving after sex. Or you know, in the middle of it. Whatever. His behavior for almost the entire rest of the movie is absolutely maddening. Yeah, we’ve all been depressed over the girl or guy but we all don’t go around riding motorcycles and making it with random cute girls that we then drop like yesterday’s leftovers (at least, I hope we all don’t…if you all do, we need to have a talk, y’all…). And then there’s THAT – the treatment of women in this isn’t the best. Between Casey’s need to use women like Kleenex in an attempt at making himself feel better; his ex just saying, “Oh you ran off for a few weeks but now you’re back? Awesome!”; and another character’s downright abusive nature (because though it seemed to be trying to lean towards the BDSM lifestyle, that’s NOT what it was) towards women, I wasn’t a fan.

And Elissa’s just so MPDG but with a super psycho, narcissistic twist that I could’ve cared less who she ended up with. The one character I actually DID like came in at the very end – Kate (Kristen Kerr). She had a GREAT discourse about 90s fashion and music that I LOVED.

The acting of all these (mostly) not so lovable characters was quite good in general. Tyler Johnson was fun to watch as Casey – very good with the moping. I very much enjoyed Alex Lindqvist’s character. He was a calm in the sea of passionate fuckery, but he brought so much emotion to his role. Kristen Kerr as Kate was cute and bubbly and absolutely charming. And Sandy Leddin as Elissa was kind of hit or miss. She had some strong parts – breaking down in a telephone booth; the very end of the movie when she’s in a car – but she was also weak in others – the fights with Casey at the beginning weren’t all that passionate for the supposedly madly passionate woman, for example. I liked her working off other characters than Casey, which is ironic, I suppose.

One of the really cool things about ON THE HORIZON is that it was filmed with a team of 3. Taking that into consideration makes the cinematography all the more beautiful. Add in the fact that only natural lighting was used and it gets even better. Another fabulous part of the film is the soundtrack. Each piece is absolutely perfect and I fell in love.

So yes, there were parts I really liked; they just didn’t particularly include the characters. Finding and keeping love can be an incredibly raw and messy journey, true, but I’m not sure putting two “seemingly unlovable” and “incapable of truly loving people” people together necessarily produces anything but the messy part of it. Despite that, I DO think it’s a film worthy of your time, one that a bunch of talented people worked on, so go check it out on Facebook or via the ON THE HORIZON website!