Review: Horns

 

HornsIn the aftermath of his girlfriend’s mysterious death, and being held as the main suspect.  A young man awakens to find strange horns sprouting from his temples.

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I’ve heard it’s a good book, I’ve heard it’s a very good adaptation, but I was worried because I’m still not convinced about Daniel Radcliffe. I’m not the biggest Harry Potter fan anyway, I thought he was miscast in The Woman In Black; though I do think he wasn’t too bad in Kill Your Darlings. Even so I was still a little sceptical when he was cast in Horns.

To my surprise Radcliffe is extremely good and without his solid performance I doubt I would have enjoyed this film at all. While the support cast is ok, there are not many standout characters like Radcliffe’s Ig, maybe that’s a little harsh and Joe Anderson who play’s Terry his brother isn’t too bad; but Temple, Minghella, Morse and even Heather Graham just flirt in and out of the film; in very 1 dimensional characters; maybe that was the ideal; Though I would have liked to see more of Morse! Yet the focus is all on Ig, and his deal with the devil to prove he is an innocent man and kill the person who killed his girlfriend. While the film deals heavily with religious theme’s it never felt bogged down by them, and Aja keeps the attention on Ig and the effect the horns have on him and people he encounters. People can’t but help tell the truth around Ig and this period of the film was the best for me, Ig’s growth in confidence as he uses his new found powers to extract the truth out of the local residents as to the real events of the murder was extremely funny at times. Yet some home truths Ig probably didn’t want to hear, especially from his parents. Yet as his power increases so does his ruthlessness as he punishes anyone who was involved in that fateful night; even members of his family are not safe. As the mystery unfolds the tone of the film shifts to a much more sinister one as Ig final uncovers the truth.

There is a decent look to the film, the opening forest scenes look like they were taken from some fairytale and there is some fantastic cinematography on show throughout the film. Yet while most of the CGI is well done there are some shockingly bad elements as well; usually with the snakes. The “real” makeup and creature design however is quite impressive. Aja’s direction is very good, it’s solid but nothing outstanding. While Rob who produced the superb score for the Maniac remake delivers another fine score; with some strong string and piano pieces throughout.

In the end I really did enjoy Horns, especially Radcliffe’s performance, he made the film for me. With some dark humour, an interesting premise and a super score in the end this was a decent film.


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Despairing of much of the modern horror hitting our cinema screens recently I found a lot to be enjoyed with the new Daniel Radcliffe movie HORNS. An original idea that’s pretty unique, well what could possibly go wrong with that?

The truth is I hadn’t read up much about it beforehand; suffice to say our lead character Ig Perrish is the prime suspect after his girlfriend is found murdered in the woods. Desperate to clear his name he sets out to find out what really happened to her that night.

HORNS is a real twisting and turning movie, when you think you’ve worked it out it throws something else into the mix. The growth of his horns means that as he speaks to people it transforms them into saying what they are really thinking and this is where the true humour lies in this movie. Far fetched most definitely but this is a movie that you have to suspend belief in regardless. Really, who has horns growing out of their head anyway?

A final showdown reveals the truth of what really happened and it is probably the last part of this movie that I found myself the least interested in, OK it is a fantasy story but parts of the final act really ask you to suspend belief and when you find yourself laughing it may not be out of a humorous line bit rather at the stupidity of what you have just seen on screen. It doesn’t ruin what is in itself a very good movie but it all feels a little unwarranted and perhaps seems to drag out what is already a two hour movie.

I would recommend HORNS and it is something I would watch again because it is that good because of its individuality, it really isn’t like anything I have ever seen before. Its writer, Joe Hill, created a story that really asks you to suspend belief and play along with it but by doing so you are rewarded with something quite special that will stick with you long after you watch it and will become a talking point amongst film geeks this year. Trim down the final act and cut to the reveal and it would notch it up slightly higher but this is a film you really need to go and see for yourself and make up your own minds. I personally loved it and would want to see it again and that is usually a good marker.


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Based on the book by Joe Hill, Horns at its most basic is a whodunnit with religious undertones. Ignatius (Radcliffe) starts the film as a bailed murder suspect charged with murdering his childhood sweetheart. Then he pisses on a statue of the Virgin Mary and sleeps with the local barmaid – so obviously (as you do) grows horns and becomes a demon. As stupid as this sounds it’s pretty much the leap of logic taken in the movie.

The idea of a ‘newbie’ becoming a demon and all it entails is a pretty novel premise. Early in the film before he understands the control he has, Ignatius acts like the demon on the shoulder for people to soundboard their dark thoughts on which gives great black comic moments as well as some darkly uncomfortable scenes. As the film progresses he becomes more of a controlling influence as he investigates the murder and tries to clear his name. The story plays with flashbacks to all the main characters as children playing together, underlining the tight nit community vibe as nobody has left the small town and gone elsewhere (even if it seems all of them should of done at some point considering careers- lawyers, djs, musicians etc).

Heavily religious overtones permeate through the film, pretty much as you would expect when the main character is a demon searching for salvation. If religious based films are not your thing, maybe keep away.

Daniel Radcliffe is still at this point in his career suffering the same effects that Al Lewis, William Shatner and Robert Englund face. The role that made him is now the albatross tightly wrapped around his neck. People still struggle to see him as anything other than the boy wizard, no matter how hard he tries or how well he acts. It might be why he has picked such a strange role to play in a mainstream(ish) film, containing themes as far from Hogwarts as he could find. If you’re still unable to see Radcliffe as anything else than Harry Potter, you may not enjoy the film as much as I did. His performance is one of the stand out parts of the film for me and without it, the rest of the film may have fallen flat. Not all the characters are as well developed or written. Especially the late girlfriend Merrin, who just came across as annoying in the handful of flashbacks she appeared in. The only other character I liked in the film, was a small bit part of a diner waitress (played in a great cameo by Heather Grahame).

Unlike many mysteries the plot on this one is a little obvious in places and at points becomes a tedious affair, 20 minutes could of been cut from the film easily especially out of the last hour. The moralistic imagery of the ending for me was a little bit of a damp squib. That being said, it is a rather enjoyable film.


Horns is in cinemas now.

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