Movie Review: Horns

Horns poster

On DVD in the UK right now – @TigersMS78 likes what sees with Horns

Alexandre Aja’s film Horns based on Joe Hill’s book, is an unexpectedly emotional, very funny and strange film. What it lacks in perhaps pure straight lines storytelling it more than makes up for with near perfect mix of romance, horror and comedy. I haven’t read the book so I won’t be comparing – which is fine because this is a review of the film, not a comparison piece.

Everything that happens in Horns feels risky from a film making point of view. First up the film has a story that is so outlandish that it could have come across as stupid or unintentionally funny; the commitment level needed from everyone involved has to be absolute for the film to fully work. Secondly and perhaps most telling is that the film is directed by a guy known for brutal, gory, violent and bleak films yet Aja handles all the romantic and dramatic scenes be they hyper stylised or not with a sensitivity that he has to date, hidden or perhaps not had the chance to show.

Daniel Radcliffe in HornsHorns tells the story of Ig Perrish (Daniel Radcliffe), a man that in the aftermath of his girlfriend Merrin’s (Juno Temple) mysterious death, of which he is the main suspect, wakes up with horns protruding from his temples. Everyone who can see the horns seems to not care but is more interested in letting Ig know a whole bunch of stuff that he never wanted too and acting out their desires. These horns make everyone tell him the truth and their darkest secrets. However Ig soon realises he can use his horns to find his girlfriends killer. So whilst this sounds strange and it is, in the film it is played straight – this is where the unexpected comedy and emotional scenes come from, in particular after Ig visits his parents, his mother blurts out that she doesn’t want him to be her son and when he talks to his father Ig is told that Merrin was his father’s favourite thing about him, Ig agrees – it’s a heavy scene but it shows that Horns is playing for keeps.

The cast are all amazing, however none more so than Daniel Radcliffe. He inhabits the role of Ig Perrish and it is one of his best roles to date. He brings the anger, sadness and vulnerability to a complex character going through a weird and tough time. Without Radcliffe’s performance the film doesn’t work, it is a truly great piece of acting.

Aja has certainly grown as a film maker and it is on show in Horns. He is always willing try something different within the horror spectrum and Horns is definitely his most mature work, having said that however when the film needs to get violent Aja proves that he still hasn’t lost the ability to create a bloody mess on screen. I have a slight issue with the writing as a few events are glossed over or not fully explained (maybe they don’t need to be) and coming in at two hours long I can understand some truncation from the original source material would have happened.

Horns is one of the more out there ideas in quite some time, an ‘outside of the square’ film that yes is based off a book but I think it took some definite courage from all involved to see this through. Horns is a success in my opinion, original and not afraid to take a chance.

Ryan Morrissey-Smith

Follow @TigersMS78 on twitter

Images: wikipedia &

Horns is available from Amazon here:

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