Think about the worse hang over you ever had. I’m talking about the hangovers that results from a night of partying that would involve at least 3 of the following 4: 1) A bloody nose 2) a ransom note 3) A Puerto Rican knife and 4) Your grandmother in tears. We all know the type of hangovers I’m talking about. The events of the night prior are something your brain has to suppress in an effort of self-preservation. Now imagine waking up with that same hangover, but now you have devil horns growing out of your head. Yeah that is literally the hangover from hell… Well not literally…
As mentioned above, waking up with a mean hangover and horns growing out of your head it’s quite possibly the worse way to start the day. Add to that the fact that the entire town thinks your guilty of the brutal rape/murder of your girlfriend and you will know just what Ig Perrish (Daniel Radcliffe) is going through. Despite the fact of denying that he had anything to do with the murder of his long time girlfriend, Merrin (Juno Temple), no one believes him. Fortunately for Ig, these aren’t your run of the mill devil’s horns (you know like the ones we see almost daily….). These horns take a strange grip on those who come in contact with them. Armed with his new appendages ( What!?! Horns can be appendages!) Ig decides to take matters into his own hands and track down Merrin’s killer. No matter who gets in his way.
Alexandre Aja is a name most genre fans have come to respect. The man has dominated the horror genre for the past decade. Haute Tension, The Hills Have Eyes and Piranha 3D are great examples of Aja’s love for brutal and gory films. But this is not the case when it comes to Horns. Aside from a couple of scenes towards the end Horns is almost completely free from the red stuff. It’s more of a character piece and runs deep with a love plot. Radcliffe and Temple are completely believable as childhood sweethearts all grown up. The back story told mostly in flashbacks, is the kind of love tale that belongs in fairy tales. In a sense that’s just what Horns is, a fairy tale. Your standard fairy tale about the princess being sexually violated and then bludgeoned to death by a rock…. Okay not COMPLETELY like a fairy tale but you get the idea.
At times Horns can be a very dramatic movie. Ig’s horns make people confess their inner thoughts and desires to Ig. This leads to most of the towns folk tell Ig how they really feel about him. Which is not a surprise, what is a shocker is when he confronts his parents. Holy hell, was that a hard scene to watch. Everyone is this film delivers top-notch performance. Joe Anderson as Ig’s stoner brother was a scene stealer. This guy pops up in a ton of horror flicks, but never gets the credit he deserves. Now I have to be honest Daniel Radcliffe’s performance was uneven and at times came off as wooden and stale. Other times, mostly the dramatic or comedic scenes, he was firing on all cylinders. Sadly, the movie rested on his shoulders and it really took me out of the story. I personally think Radcliffe has proven himself as more than just Harry Potter. Not sure what happened here, but it kept the movie from being great.
A lot of the fun I had with Horns came from the effect the horns had on the towns people. Watching people confess their darkest desires and then act on them was a wild time. Aja handles this with a care and never over plays his hand, which I imagine would have been really tempting. I mean watching soulless paparazzi beat the hell out of one another for a chance at an exclusive interview with Ig was great, but Aja just gives you a glimpse of the mayhem. Keeping the focus on the characters helped keep the connection with them real. A nice change of pace for Aja.
Joe Hill put out Horns the novel a couple of years back and I remember saying to myself, this would make a great movie. It’s common knowledge that Joe Hill is the son of horror legend Stephen King. Being an avid King reader for years now, I can safely say that Hill lives up to his father’s name. Give the guy respect for not trying to ride his old man’s coat tails, but pick up one Hill’s novels and it won’t take long for you to see he doesn’t need his Dad’s coattails. This guy has his horror chops down and can out scare his dad any day of the week.