There are a few spoilers waiting for you.
There are number of reviews waiting to be written, including Gone Girl and Radcliffe’s cozy romantic comedy What If, but I figured I’d break the thread of good reviews with something different. Horns is the kind of movie that succeeds and fails at the same time, it does some things perfectly, others not so much and then there’s that awful ending that pretty much spoils the whole experience… and yet, it’s still quite alright.
Like any other movie, Horns is adapted from a novel and it just happens to be written by the son of the most notorious author alive today, Stephen King’s middle child Joe Hill. I have two of his books in my possession but obviously I have yet to read them (I should really stop buying books until I finish the ones I have), so I have no idea what Joe Hill’s writing style is like. Considering the plot of Horns, I assume he likes weird things with a twist of supernatural that can still be analysed through the spectrum of everyday normal situations. Or at least I tried to look at the plot as something which was trying to teach me something until it went completely insane.
Though I have no experience with the book author, I have indeed encountered the director, Alexandre Aja once before with High Tension. In comparison to his 2003 movie, Horns definitely shows his evolution and Aja is now more clean, sharp and precise in his work. Which is understandable, he probably had more (budget) to do things with in this production and I have to say, I loved some of the scenes of the movie though I might have not been the biggest fan of the story. Which brings me to the plot, that had me at first and then lost me completely half way through the movie which in my opinion could have easily cut its running time 30 minutes shorter.
Iggy Perrish (Daniel Radcliffe) is being accused of his girlfriend’s, Merrin Williams’ (Juno Temple) murder in a town that is harassing him due to his alleged crime. He claims to be innocent while everybody around him seem to be thinking the opposite and after a questionable one night stand with the towns loosest woman, he suddenly starts growing horns. With them, these actually rather cool looking horns, he is able to sort of control people, to tell him their darkest secrets and manipulate them to do things – almost as if he was the carnation of the devil himself. Obviously with this newly found power he sets out to search for the actual killer of Merrin.
Up until that point of the movie, I was completely okay with everything. There was slight humor with the people telling him the weirdest things, with couple of his childhood friends confessing him their homosexuality and the beat down between the reporters was a delightful revenge on Iggy’s part. Then it started to go down hill from there and I lost interest pretty fast after but it wasn’t before the actual killer killed Iggy, who then returned from death, that I lost all respect for the movie all together.
The final act of Horns is useless and it steps over the line too much. It completely kills the illusion, that was almost believable throughout the movie, and makes it into a sad attempt to create a profound horror thriller where the term angel of death could be an excellent metaphor. Even the amazingly brilliant shot gun blast to the head couldn’t save it for me and I was rather disappointed by the time the movie ended. Though I would have probably rated Horns a lot higher than I did now, if it weren’t for the devastating final act which was simply just too much but who knows, maybe for others it worked and good for them, cause I tried to look passed my disappointment but I just couldn’t.
In order to finish on a good note, I have to say, I’m really liking Daniel Radcliffe’s career right now! Yes, he had to manifest an American accent for Horns but he is doing movies that are different and weird, and I’m actually fangirling him in a way. By the way, What If was brilliant but that’s a discussion for a different review, Horns was alright, granted, the movie didn’t do much for me but his performance was spot on. I mean, I don’t know how a teenager with horns will behave, but I assume he would behave like Radcliffe performed Iggy. Juno Temple was as precious as always and if I’d change anything, I’d have more of her in the movie because just as the cinematography was warm with her on the screen, she was the bright light in the movie. Too bad her character wasn’t as bright in her decisions.
Weird and over the top plot, with good acting on not so well developed characters, makes Horns an interesting treat for those who like dark humor and black comedy. You will have some good laughs, tiny bit of gore and if you are able to look passed at the ridiculous ending to an almost decent supernatural movie, you’ll be able to enjoy Horns a lot more than I did. Or at least enjoy Radcliffe.. who shows his ghost white abs at least once so you’ll never be able to look at Harry Potter the same again.