Horns Movie Review
Written by Kelly Michael Stewart
Directed by Alexandre Aja
Written by Keith Bunin (screenplay), Joe Hill (novel)
2013, 123 minutes
TIFF premiere on September 6th, 2013
Daniel Radcliffe as Ig Perrish
Juno Temple as Merrin Williams
James Remar as Merrick Perrish
Kelli Garner as Glenna
Making its World Premiere at the 2013 Toronto International Film Festival was Alexandre Aja's Horns, starring Daniel Radcliffe (Harry Potter, Women in Black) and Juno Temple (Killer Joe).
We meet up with Ig (Daniel Radcliffe), an emotionally distraught 20-something in Washington State. We learn that he has been accused of the brutal rape and murder of his longtime girlfriend Merrin (Juno Temple). He has beaten the case, but the locals and much of his family is still convinced that he did kill her, so he has become the outcast of the townspeople. Things go from bad to worse when Ig wakes up one day with horns growing out of his head. He learns though that the horns come with special powers making people confess their deepest and their darkest desires to him, even if he wants to hear it or not. Ig learns that he can use this newfound dark power to uncover who really killed the love of his life.
Based on the book of the same name by Joe Hill (Stephen King's son), Aja has really made it his own and has clearly made a very personal film. What is most striking about it is how romantic it all is. We only see Merrin in flashbacks, so it has a lot of the same qualities of a movie like Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, where the character is seen exclusively through the perception of memory of another character. The actual plot is a standard murder mystery, but with its supernatural elements leading to some of the most bizarre, disturbing and funny dialogue makes Horns nothing quite like anything out there.
Horns is marked departure from Alexandre Aja's last few films like The Hills have Eyes and Piranha 3D. The movie is a more of supernatural thriller with a leaning towards David Lynch (especially Twin Peaks) in its oddball characters and its murder mystery. In many ways this film is a "graduation piece" for Daniel Radcliff as well. With this he finally breaks away the shackles of Harry Potter into a mature actor. People likely will compare this role to what Blade Runner did for Harrison Ford by doing something in the genre but in a completely unique direction.
Frederick Elmes's (Blue Velvet) photography is stunning in this, giving a very different look to both the contemporary and flashback sequences. In particular there is scene were we see Merrin dancing in the sunlight in the tree house to Bowie's "Heroes" in a shear pink dress that is jaw dropping. If there has never been the concept of "perfect moment" captured on film before – this is it.
Horns isn't a perfect film though, and tends to be a little too literal for my taste in its depictions of Christian mythology. Also, I do find the final act of the film a little heavy handed in moments.
Overall though, Aja does a brilliant job of mixing drama, horror, romance and even horror in one strange, unique mixture. Horns will not be for everyone, but those wanting to be seduced by its beauty, horror and magic will be transformed.
Video, Audio and Special Features:
Video, audio and special features will not be graded as this was a screener.