Horns

"Good"

Horns Review


With his most stylish film yet, horror specialist Alexandre Aja takes a wildly irreverent approach, packing the screen with rude humour, visual flourishes and spiky characters. But it's assembled in such a rapid-fire way that it's difficult to get a handle on anything, which makes the movie feel like a series of outrageous set-pieces without a coherent plot to hold them together. The likeable actors help bring their characters to life, but the film is too hyperactive to let us engage with any of them.

It's set in a small town near Seattle, where Ig (Daniel Radcliffe) is in shock after his childhood sweetheart Merrin (Juno Temple) was violently murdered. Then he becomes the prime suspect, and the media have a field day. So he hires his lifelong pal Lee (Max Minghella) as his lawyer, partly because he's the only person in town who believes he's innocent. This includes Ig's parents (James Remar and Kathleen Quinlan) and brother (Joe Anderson). As the situation continues to deteriorate, Ig suddenly discovers that horns are growing on his head and no one seems very shocked by this. They also seem unable to lie in his presence, so he decides to use this to find out who really killed Merrin. Along the way he gets a shocking glimpse into what everyone in town really thinks about each other.

The film is an assault on the senses, as Aja packs every moment with outrageous sights and sounds, encouraging the actors to sometimes drift over the line into broad slapstick. He also fills the screen with religious imagery, including churches, crosses, pitchforks and snakes, all hinting that Ig's transformation is connected with his loss of faith. Or maybe it's just part of the film's jokey attitude. But as pieces of the central mystery slowly fall into place, the movie seems to become looser and less coherent. Even when the real villain is identified, there's still at least half an hour of flashbacks and revelations, confrontations and conclusions, none of which are particularly surprising or satisfying.

But that's not to say that the film is hard to watch. Radcliffe does a great job at grounding Ig in real life, making even his most reprehensible actions relatively understandable. But the character is so tightly wound that he's difficult to engage with. And most of the actors around him play their characters even more broadly, which makes it difficult to take them seriously. This is part of the problem: the film is so witty that the horror comes across as mainly comical, while Aja's colourful production design feels somewhat indulgent. What was needed was a sharper focus on the story and characters to pull things together into something with a big comical and/or emotional kick.


 



Horns

Facts and Figures

Genre: Horror/Suspense

Run time: 120 mins

In Theaters: Friday 3rd October 2014

Box Office USA: $0.2M

Distributed by: Radius-TWC

Production compaines: Mandalay Pictures, Red Granite Pictures

Reviews

Contactmusic.com: 3 / 5

Rotten Tomatoes: 41%
Fresh: 43 Rotten: 62

IMDB: 6.6 / 10

Cast & Crew

Director:

Starring: as Ig Perrish, as Merrin Williams, as Glenna, as Derrick Perrish, as Lee Tourneau, as Terry Parrish, as Young Merrin, Laine MacNeil as Young Glenna, Dylan Schmid as Lee at 13

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