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.0
I keep hearing this movie doesn’t really work, and that bums me out. I actually just finished the book last night, and I enjoyed it. It was very twisted and different. I’m interested in seeing how it plays out on screen. Great review!
Well it might work for some, like.. it does play with the supernatural so it’s just the matter of taste. But for me personally, it went too far into the fantasy to actually make sense in the end. I definitely recommend it for Radcliffe’s performance alone..
Just watched this and liked it a bit. Wasn’t as creepy as I was expecting it to be, but still pretty neat. Good review Ray.
I liked it a bit too.. but not too much especially after it was over. Thanks for the comment!
I was looking forward to this (it’s Daniel Radcliffe with horns!), but I haven’t been hearing great things about it. I do however, respect Radcliffe’s choices, as he’s always moving from one genre to the next, certainly shredding his HP image. Great review!
Since you mentioned there’s spoilers, I’m going to bookmark this post to read after I’ve seen this!
I do that as well.. I skip reviews of movies I want to see, even without spoilers because I don’t want to be influenced to like it or dislike it.
Exactly! I hope to like it, but we’ll see. I really like John Radcliffe a lot, and this movie just looks different . . . interesting. Hope to be checking back in a few days!
Lol, obviously my head is not on straight (just saw John Wick, lol!) DANIEL!
Sadly, I had an opportunity to see this film, this past Saturday evening, and the person I was with, wanted to see the “The Houses October Built” instead; to say that I was disappointed at the conclusion of the film would be a drastic understatement. The film, as you stated in the opening of your blog, might succeed and fail at the same time, but I have a feeling I would have enjoyed it a great deal more than the monstrosity I had to endure. I was sorry to read, right at the start, that you thought the ending was a letdown. That usually doesn’t bode well for anything, but I was, of course, still interested in hearing your take on the film, so I continued to read your blog, as I try to do with everyone, who I follow on wordpress.
I know what you mean about buying books, and having plenty you haven’t had a chance to read yet. I have so many of those, that, that is good advice that I should also take. I read so much, and am interested in so many diverse topics, that I simply can’t help myself sometimes; especially when my local library, and I don’t mean to sound cheap, but they sell brand new books, people have donated for three dollars, that sometimes cost upwards of thirty in the store.
Horns was the first book I have read by Joe Hill. He is without a doubt a competent writer, who knows how to pace a story, and make it interesting.
I am also a Radcliffe fan, so I am glad you mentioned that he gave a good performance, since you didn’t seem to care for other aspects of the film very much.
Oh, to see something you don’t expect to see instead of something else is such a shame. Hopefully you’ll see the movie you intended to see soon!
Buying books is sort of calming for me as well.. I go to a book store and browse around for hours sometimes and I usually exit with a book in my hand.
I haven’t grabbed for Hill’s books yet but I will certainly try to read his Christmas themed one this year.. it would go well with my dark mood during that holiday.
Radcliffe is such a great guy.. he is really growing on me these days.. What If is probably my favorite rom com this year!
So I ended up missing this at the cinema, which really disappointed me. But I decided to take a stab at reading your review, and it makes me regret missing it less now. I’m thinking I’ll have to check this one out on DVD when it’s available to rent. I’m sorry to hear it wasn’t as good (as it could have been). And I’m with you on Dan Radcliffe’s career . . . I loved him in What If too! 🙂
I watched this the other day and kinda confused by it, because it felt like it stucked halfway between wanting to be indie-ish flick and somewhat comedic horror film. I guess i just don’t have a taste for it despite i adore the two lead here…
The beginning was good, it was sort of the thing you described but the ending.. you know what.. let’s say it was a tad bit too much but then again, based on a book, who knows where things went south.