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Review: Horns

Horns
10.29.2014
100%
6 10

PLOT: A young man suspected of murdering his childhood sweetheart wakes up one morning with a pair of horns sprouting from his forehead. With this devilish addition he discovers he possesses the power to bring out the deepest and darkest secrets of those around him. With this, he attempts to uncover what exactly happened on that tragic night his love was killed.

REVIEW: What if one day you woke up with an embodiment of evil sprouting from your head? That is exactly what happens in the latest fantasy horror comedy from Alexandre Aja (HAUTE TENSION, THE HILLS HAVE EYES). This occasionally sharp satire plays on the idea of a society who will quickly convict the innocent, and are desperately in need of fame whatever the consequence. And for much of the film, we are rewarded with an intriguing ride. Unfortunately it tends to collapse into a jumbled mess of religious symbolism and one frustratingly weak character reveal. Even still, with Daniel Radcliffe in the leading role, HORNS has moments of wit and thrills.

Radcliffe portrays Ig Perrish, a young and thoughtful man whom many believe raped and murdered his childhood girlfriend Merrin (Juno Temple). With only a handful of residents in the small town supporting him, including his brother Terry (Joe Anderson) and his childhood friend Lee Tourneau (Max Minghella), he is constantly under attack. Yet one morning after a brief fling with a local waitress named Glenna (Kelli Garner), he finds that two small horns are sprouting from his temples. And while Glenna doesn’t seem to notice, she asks his permission to binge on a box of donuts all the while revealing her inner turmoil to the dumbstruck Ig.

Ig soon comes to the realization that the horns, continually growing each passing day, get the same reaction from those around him. While constantly followed by journalists asking about the death of his girlfriend, he easily convinces the scoop hungry reporters to “beat the shit out of each other” for an exclusive story. His new found power brings his pent up frustration a little release, yet when he begins to discover some mysterious elements to what really happened to Merrin, he uses it to try and discover who really killed Merrin – no matter how horrible the revelation will be. Radcliffe is so good at dealing with the complexity of the role that the further he becomes this earthbound devil – including the addition of snakes – he is able to bring sympathy and understanding to the character.

As a fan of Aja, it was nice to see the director explore many of the same themes that are brought up in the original novel by Joe Hill. And while Keith Bunin’s screenplay remains true to much of it, a few changes are made that were a tad frustrating. Remaining as vague as possible, when the truth of what took place is revealed, it is such a strange and sudden emotional transformation for one character that it makes for an exasperating watch. In the source material there is a deeper explanation and it makes more sense. Of course, approaching this more as a whodunit, they had to change things a bit, so it is understandable why they went the route they did.

Once again, what success there is with HORNS is heavily due to Radcliffe. Since his HARRY POTTER days, he continues to grow and challenge himself as an actor, and he is terrific here. His ability to bring a strong emotional layer to this character is damned impressive. Ig is a fascinating guy, so amiable that it is almost hard to believe an entire town would think he was a murderer – of course that happens in real life far too often. It was especially great to see Radcliffe opposite the fantastic David Morse who portrays Merrin’s grieving father. Their scenes together are so potent that you almost wish more of the focus had been on the two of them.

Aside from Radcliffe, there are a number of interesting performances here. Joe Anderson is one of the most underrated talents working today, and this is no exception. As Ig’s older brother, he adds a layer of intensity and empathy to Terry who may or may not be keeping secrets. And then there is Juno Temple. While her story is told in flashbacks, she is mysterious and beautiful bringing such a glow to Merrin. One scene leading up to her death is so utterly potent for her and Radcliffe that you can’t help but feel for the two. Heather Graham is also quite good – and absolutely stunning – as a waitress who seems to know a whole lot about the events leading up to Merrin’s death. When HORNS places focus on the characters as opposed to the horrific elements, surprisingly it was far more involving.

Aja’s take on HORNS is a unique experience. It is possibly one of his most mature features and isn’t nearly as bloody as he usually gets – aside from a couple sequences including a nasty bit with a gunshot to the head. Yet when the devilish references turn literal with a ton of CG, it isn’t nearly as effective as it could have been. Thankfully, it is grounded enough by Radcliffe and the rest of the cast to be a sometimes thought-provoking experience. HORNS is a mixed bag of treats that offers up a great leading man and a few compelling ideas. Not Aja’s best work, but perhaps his most ambitious and therefore worth a watch for fans.

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Source: JoBlo.com

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11:02AM on 10/30/2014
So... 1850 theaters to rerelease SAW and this movie opens in limited release... with almost nothing new this weekend! WTF!!! I don't understand distributors in the US! While it's not exactly a "horror movie" it's a perfect date movie for halloween. I enjoyed it, could have been better, but it's good, a 7,5 in my opinion. Why Weinstein didnīt release it wide?
So... 1850 theaters to rerelease SAW and this movie opens in limited release... with almost nothing new this weekend! WTF!!! I don't understand distributors in the US! While it's not exactly a "horror movie" it's a perfect date movie for halloween. I enjoyed it, could have been better, but it's good, a 7,5 in my opinion. Why Weinstein didnīt release it wide?
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9:55AM on 10/30/2014

casting and director

The book was really great. The apple doesn't fall far from the tree. Great story, inventive, creative, and like his dad you have to really bend your suspension of disbelief. Same with the movie. While it's a great watch and entertaining, as everyone has said, the last 20 minutes are a mess. Aja does not seem 100% dedicated to the film and I can't put my finger on it, but it shows. Though, a bigger issue is the casting, it is so perfect with Juno temple and Radcliffe, and friend Glenna, it is so
The book was really great. The apple doesn't fall far from the tree. Great story, inventive, creative, and like his dad you have to really bend your suspension of disbelief. Same with the movie. While it's a great watch and entertaining, as everyone has said, the last 20 minutes are a mess. Aja does not seem 100% dedicated to the film and I can't put my finger on it, but it shows. Though, a bigger issue is the casting, it is so perfect with Juno temple and Radcliffe, and friend Glenna, it is so off with his friend Lee Tourneau (Max Minghella). It takes you right out of the story.
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9:14AM on 10/30/2014

I thought it was decent, but had a bad final 20 minutes

I recommend it for some light viewing. I don't like to compare books that often to their film counterparts. In this movie's case, it follows the book pretty closely until the final act, so comparison is justified. Unfortunately, the final act is the movie's weakest section. Although not perfect, it's digestible horror movie fare.
I recommend it for some light viewing. I don't like to compare books that often to their film counterparts. In this movie's case, it follows the book pretty closely until the final act, so comparison is justified. Unfortunately, the final act is the movie's weakest section. Although not perfect, it's digestible horror movie fare.
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4:57AM on 10/30/2014

Strong start, weak ending..


6,5/10 in my books
The beggining is very cool, but as the movie goes on, it becomes less and less brillant and I found the ending specially ridiculous.

6,5/10 in my books
The beggining is very cool, but as the movie goes on, it becomes less and less brillant and I found the ending specially ridiculous.
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6:16AM on 10/30/2014
You read my mind.I haven`t seen the movie but the book started strong (the scene in the waiting room then seeing the doctor lol) but then it just kept going and going and going.Should of been a novella.Movie sounds the same.
You read my mind.I haven`t seen the movie but the book started strong (the scene in the waiting room then seeing the doctor lol) but then it just kept going and going and going.Should of been a novella.Movie sounds the same.
12:10AM on 10/30/2014

"When the truth of what took place is revealed, it is such a strange and sudden emotional transformation for one character that it makes for an exasperating watch. " TRUE

I was so disappointed with "that character" in the movie. I loved his/her chapter in the book and it made so much sense. In this movie, he/she jumps from one character, to another out of nowhere.

It was a good movie. I just wish they didn't have to change so much. Especially that thing in the book that explained how Iggy got his horns.
I was so disappointed with "that character" in the movie. I loved his/her chapter in the book and it made so much sense. In this movie, he/she jumps from one character, to another out of nowhere.

It was a good movie. I just wish they didn't have to change so much. Especially that thing in the book that explained how Iggy got his horns.
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