SAFTA winner Elma Postma and former Boo! frontman Chris Chameleon reunite in the eerie Showmax psychological thriller Horisonne, 17 years after their bittersweet romantic storyline on 7de Laan as Dezi and Liam.

Postma stars as Melissa, a psychologist who learns that her controlling ex-lover, Melchior van Staden (Chameleon), has set up Horisonne, a mindfulness retreat where he seems to be brainwashing young men and women. Even worse, her estranged 18-year-old daughter, Adri, is now the cult leader’s right-hand woman. Going to the retreat herself, Melissa risks her life to try to save her daughter from Melchior’s power.

The week before she auditioned for Horisonne, Postma had watched Keep Sweet: Pray and Obey. The docuseries explores what women had to do to escape a fundamentalist Mormon sect led by Warren S Jeffs that allegedly demanded their complete submission to male authority and trapped them in sexual exploitation. Elma had also seen the 2018 documentary Wild Wild Country, about Indian guru, turned cult leader Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh, whose promise of the community allegedly masked financial exploitation.

“Both are about people being promised a new life, a good future, but in the end falling for someone or something that is all about money and power (mentally and otherwise), or being taken advantage of,” says Postma. “The reality is that the situation in Horisonne isn’t new. Young people, people in relationships, are being manipulated because they are targeted as being weak. People like Melchior give them something to live for. Hope. A future. But they are, in the end, just part of a sick person’s power-hungry game.”

Postma drew on her own experiences to shape her performance. “Thankfully I haven’t been in any situation close to this specific story. But looking back at previous relationships when I was much younger and more insecure, one does tend to become more of someone you think your partner wants you to be – to be accepted, to be loved. Only afterward do you realise, ‘Okay, that was happening? I can suddenly be myself again; I feel relieved and free’. There are different degrees of this behaviour in relationships. But if you see this happening, I suggest that you re-evaluate your reasons for being with someone,” Elma warns.

For Chris, the surrender of self that Melchior demands of his followers is horribly familiar. “I was a military conscript in 1990,” says Chris. “I went AWOL five weeks into what was intended to be a year and a half’s ’service’. The pressure there was strong. The military tries to break you down so that it may reconstruct you into a tool to suit its functions. That was the most pressure I’ve ever felt in that regard.”

Rising star Deoudoné Van der Merwe, the face of kykNET’s Stella campaign, plays Adri. Fleur du Cap nominee and Fiesta winner Wessel Pretorius wrote the script, including a scene-stealing part for himself as Alwyn, a psychopath who is one of Melissa’s patients: the Hannibal Lecter to her Clarice Starling, if this was Silence of the Lambs.

Directed by SAFTA winner André Velts (Die Pro, Raaiselkind, Vergeet My Nie), Horisonne is now streaming on Showmax here.

Watch and embed the trailer:

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