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James Porter

Movie Review: HORNS

Directed By: Alexandre Aja.

Starring: Daniel Radcliffe, Juno Temple, Max Minghella, Joe Anderson and David Morse.

After the mysterious murder of his girlfriend, Ig Perish becomes suspect number 1, but that's the least of his worries. When he wakes up after a night of drinking, he notices horns sprouting from his head.

Daniel Radcliffe stars as Ig Perish, a man who is suspected of killing his own girlfriend, but he knows he didn't do it and he's willing to do whatever it takes to find who really took his love from him.

Horns is a vengeance thriller with a biblical tinge and the concept of it is quite interesting, but the movie delves far too deep into metaphor rather than actual plot.

Everyone in the town sees Ig as Satan walking the Earth (I guess the Horns don't really help the matter), a local newspaper headline even reads "Is This the Face of the Devil?" so when Ig unwillingly starts growing Horns from his head, his public image becomes even more literal. Not only do these Horns add to his public image but they also come with a nifty trick that make everyone who comes into contact with Ig reveal their deepest, darkest truths, regardless of whether Ig wants to hear them or not, a plot device that made for some interesting and dark humor but also progressed the story. There is a downside to this new power he's picked up though, he learns a lot of things he'd rather not know. His father is certain he's a killer, his mother wishes he would leave so her life can revert back to normalcy, even the local Priest suggests that Ig hang himself in the woods.

Horns is a high concept horror film that tries to act very meta, but doesn't realize how ridiculously silly it actually is. The film starts off and it has a very dark, cynical humor about it, but when the plot thickens and Ig delves deeper into the mystery of his girlfriends death, it becomes extremely hokey and unintentionally hilarious.

For a portion of the film, the filmmakers showed a lot of potential with this idea. The idea that people are revealing their most sinful desires to Ig was really funny but the actual story left something to be desired, it wasn't as surprising or deep as it thought it was. I did like the concept of the Horns, how they are used as a tool for humor but also a tool for narrative. The film uses the Horns very effectively, they allow for a lot of character development in some of the smaller characters like Ig's parents.

This is by far Daniel Radcliffe's most mature role yet and he's good in the role, he works with a sometimes pitiful script and makes the film slightly more bearable. Juno Temple plays Merrin, who is Ig's deceased girlfriend, we're really supposed to care what happened to her but the film doesn't show enough of her character for the audience to really care about the truth behind her murder. Joe Anderson slightly overplays his role as the drugged up musician brother of Ig but Max Minghella really stuck out like a sore thumb, his role wasn't great and he wasn't great in the role, his dialogue was very flat and felt like he was reading a script.

The film switches between horror, comedy, romance and fantasy and the tonal shifts were very jarring, sometimes it felt like different films were being crammed together to make a very in-cohesive story. Comedy was the tone that this film really nailed, it was disturbing and admirably cynical but after a while that unfortunately disappeared.

Horns for the majority of its run time is silly yet creative but once the final act comes into play, the story goes absolutely nuts but tries to be oddly serious about it and it felt more like a parody than an actual meaningful conclusion. If you've seen the film you know the final couple of scenes feature some absurd moments that unfortunately made me laugh rather than be invested in what was actually happening.

Throughout the film we are shown flashbacks in a "Stand By Me" type way in which we are given pointless story points and little character development. These segments feel long and drawn out and add to the 2 hour run-time that was so poorly paced that it felt like 2 1/2 hours.

Horns ultimately boils down to a whodunit with supernatural and religious aspects that has its great moments but unfortunately they are overshadowed by unnecessary back story, bad script work and some absolutely ridiculous scenes. I'm giving Horns a 4/10.

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