Latest Horror Movie Headlines

Horns (Movie Review)

Horns (Movie Review)
10.29.2014by: Eric Walkuski
7 10

Horns review Daniel Radcliffe Alexandre Aja horror Joe Hill

PLOT: Accused of murdering his girlfriend, Ig Perrish has nothing much to live for in his small town other than drinking and sabotaging what remains of his life. One day, he wakes up with devil's horns, which give him the ability to make anyone he encounters tell him the truth, which may help him suss out the identity of the real killer.

REVIEW: You think you're having a string of bad luck? Try spending a day or two in Ig Perrish's shoes. Ig (Daniel Radcliffe) is a pariah in his own town, having been accused of raping and murdering his girlfriend, Merrin (Juno Temple), although the fond dreams and fantasies of the beautiful girl that occupy his thoughts would suggest otherwise. The police weren't able to stack up enough evidence against him, so he spends his days drinking and mourning her loss. After one particularly naughty night, in which he desecrates some holy sacraments in a fit of drunken rage, Ig wakes up with the nubs of what appear to be horns peeking out of his forehead. Soon enough, they grow bigger and bigger, until the young man begins to uncomfortably resemble the devil.

Ig's horns, it turns out, have an unusual effect on the people who encounter him: Instead of being gobsmacked by his newfound appearance, the they spurned on to reveal their deepest, darkest secrets to Ig. Soon after, they're compelled to actually act on these impulses. Thus Ig is constantly bombarded with admissions he doesn't want to hear, especially when they come from his loved ones, such as his parents or older brother (Joe Anderson). Yet the truth-telling side effect of the horns may reap benefits yet: Ig can now attempt to find out who really killed his girlfriend. And if he needs extra help, well, the legion of serpents who appear to him one night, seemingly awaiting his commend, should do nicely.

Horns review Daniel Radcliffe Alexandre Aja horror Joe Hill

Joe Hill's HORNS was never going to be an easy book to adapt, and that fact is at least in the back of my mind when considering Alexandre Aja's film adaptation, which is an admirable, if not quite completely successful, attempt at capturing the story's strange ideas and wavering tones. The early scenes where Ig has to confront the various strange inclinations of his former friends and neighbors have a mischievous, almost immature quality, while his flashbacks of his girlfriend play out more like scenes from a YA adaptation. The further Ig comes to the truth, however, the darker the movie's atmosphere becomes, and Aja is finally able to flex his horror movie muscles in gruesome ways. HORNS sometimes feel like a handful of different movies clashing together, sometimes to entertaining effect, sometimes uncomfortably.

The movie is working best when it's laying on the creepiness of Ig's plight, but the comedy falls flat. Hill's tonal shifts come somewhat subtly, the dark humor of the subject matter creeping around the edges of the text. Aja can't afford such nuances - especially in only two hours - so the humor plays a little more slapsticky and heavy-handed. (The gleefully un-PC comedy of Aja's PIRANHA, on the other hand, worked for that movie's twisted sensibilities.) A scene where Ig makes a bunch of predatory news reporters fight each other for an exclusive interview with him is just ridiculous, and negates any tension the sequence had otherwise - and that's just one example.

Thankfully the cast is very game for the bizarre material, lending the movie an air of confidence it wouldn't otherwise have. Radcliffe is quite good; the former Harry Potter slips comfortably into a role that requires him to behave in some unwholesome ways, and the actor appears to relish it. Max Minghella is solid as Ig's best friend, a lawyer who is determined to see him freed from all suspicion; Anderson has a few really strong moments as Ig's brother, who may or may not know more about what happened the fateful night Merrin died. David Morse is reliable as always as Merrin's father, who wants to see Ig burned at the stake. Even Heather Graham has a pretty decent turn as a waitress who perjured herself in order for a little bit of attention.

In the end, HORNS is fun in its own rough-around-the-edges way. I imagine it'll play as an unconventional surprise for those who are unprepared for it, while people who have read and enjoyed the book will appreciate what it tries to accomplish, even if it succeeds in uneven doses.



Latest Movie News Headlines


Featured Youtube Videos

Views and Counting