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Sorry To Bother You’s Horse Twist Explained

Boots Riley’s debut Sorry To Bother You is undoubtedly original but its horse people twist left a lot baffled – here’s the plot curveball explained.

Sorry To Bother You’s horse people twist left a lot of people confused, so here’s an explanation of the Equisapien curveball director Boots Riley throws during the third act. To say musician and activist-turned-filmmaker Boots Riley made an auspicious debut with Sorry To Bother You is an understatement. The dark comedy mixes political satire and a splash of sci-fi to offer a unique critique of capitalism that saw Sorry To Bother You reviews hail it as one of the most memorable and original movies in recent memory.

Lakeith Stanfield heads up Sorry To Bother You’s cast as protagonist Cassius “Cash” Green, a down-on-his-luck Oakland resident living in his uncle Sergio’s (Terry Crews) garage with his artist girlfriend Detroit (Tessa Thompson). After taking a telemarketing job with a company called RegalView, Cash discovers he commands a ton more sales when he adopts a “white voice” (provided by Arrested Development’s David Cross). Despite unionizing and protesting with his colleagues (Steven Yeun’s Squeeze and Jermaine Fowler’s Sal) for better pay, Cash finds himself promoted to “Power Caller” status which promises better money and a lot of perks.


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However, Cash soon finds out RegalView’s elite Power Callers sell on behalf of WorryFree – a shady company that basically outsources slave labor. The situation gets even more concerning when he’s invited to a lavish party held at the sprawling mansion of cocaine-fueled WorryFree CEO Steve Lift (Armie Hammer). There, Cash inadvertently stumbles across Steve’s new and horrifying experiment – turning employees into horse-people hybrids (aka “Equisapiens”) to create a stronger, more obedient and productive workforce. Worse yet, Steve wants to pay Cash an astronomical amount to become an Equisapien himself and act as a false revolutionary that keeps the horse people in line. Even more horrifyingly, Steve may have already had Cash snort the formula that turns people into Equisapiens under the guise of it being cocaine.

What The Equisapiens Represent

The equisapien video in Sorry to Bother You

Sorry To Bother You’s horse people are quite the baffling plot twist, but there is a method to Boots Riley’s madness. In an interview with Thrillist, Riley explained he introduced the Equisapiens as a means of making Cash realize he’s just a cog in this horrifying capitalist machine in the world of the Sorry To Bother You movie: “You have a world in which everybody is accepting slavery and now that he’s hawking their labor, I thought, there needs to be something that shakes him to his mortal core.” Furthermore, Riley recognizes he could have chosen some other sort of genetically mutated human hybrid but chose horses specifically for their cultural connotations and association with labor with terms like “workhorse” and “horsepower.” Basically, those poor Equisapiens represent an extreme version of a workforce under unbridled capitalism.

The conclusion of Sorry To Bother You was equally unsettling but in Boots Riley’s opinion, it constitutes a happy ending nevertheless. Towards the end, Cash tries to expose WorryFree’s worrisome plans to no avail before realizing he has indeed snorted the Equisapien formula and is turning into a horse-man hybrid himself. However, after one of the weirdest movie moments of the 2010s, by Sorry To Bother You’s ending, Cash has grouped together with his fellow Equisapiens to storm Steve Lift’s house seeking revenge for their mutation and exploitation. Cash might be half-man, half-horse, but he chose to fight back against the capitalist machine in the end – and that’s what counts.

How The Filmmakers Brought The Equisapiens To Life Using Puppetry

Sorry To Bother You

Aside from how effectively they convey the central themes of Sorry To Bother You, the Equisapiens are also impressive for being entirely practical-effects-based creatures. Rather than rely on CGI, Riley went for a more classic technique while bringing his horse-human hybrids to life. Amalgamated Dynamics, the company behind such special effects masterpieces as TremorsMars Attacks!, and the original Jumanji movie, provided intricately designed animatronic puppets for Sorry To Bother You that required multiple people to operate. Although motion capture and CGI could have been used instead, the fact that the Equisapiens are real-life puppets adds to the immediacy of their physical horror and makes them effective and creepy, as was surely Boots Riley’s goal. The puppetry adds an extra layer to the corporate control wielded over the Equisapiens – they’re puppets in every sense. Sorry To Bother You may be a satire overall, but the horse people give it a distinct horror movie twist.

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