Director Kurt Voss has typically avoided the familiar and never more so than with this early effort made with a very low budget, an uneven psychological thriller which delivers satisfying results. The plot involves a loner named Bud, played by Brad Dourif in his usual highly idiosyncratic fashion, who works at an easy job evenings in the freezer box of a liquor store, restocking shelves as needed, while gambling on horses during the day. Bud lives in a tawdry apartment building in a rundown area and when a man and his purported sister move into the complex, the relationship between this trio becomes the focus of the film. The newcomers may not actually be siblings, and the man, Matthew (Michael Harris), an artist, soon gives instructions to his roommate Randi (Sammi Davis) to approach Bud and develop erotic contact with him. It is soon made plain that Matthew utilizes the histories of those seduced by Randi as thematic series for his gallery showings but in this instance Bud, who has secrets of his own, proves to be a harrowing subject. The connection between the horseplayer and his boss George, the liquor store proprietor (Vic Tayback), is interesting largely because, as the story wends its way along, we and George are often surprised by whatever Bud will do next. Voss, who contributes to the script, likes closeups and uses them effectively while keeping us in the dark as to his characters' motivations, right until the picture's insightful ending. Michael Harris, as the rather debased painter, steals the film with his insouciant performance, as he plays off the rest of the small cast with aplomb. Sammi Davis is believable as the possible paramour of Bud, and Vic Tayback is wry in his scenes as the cynical store owner, bringing an air of clarity to the storyline when it flags. HORSEPLAYER is edited well and is supplied with an aptly moody score, and only occasional lapses of sense in the dialogue and Dourif's off-putting strangeness will cool one's enthusiasm for it.