Director: Alexandre Aja
Writers: Keith Bunin (screenplay), Joe Hill (novel)
Starring: Daniel Radcliffe, Juno Temple, Heather Graham
When I saw the trailer for Daniel Radcliffe’s latest flick I can’t deny I was excited. I am a Harry Potter freak and have been following its three stars who I literally grew up watching (the last movie was released my last year of high school), hoping desperately they’d avoid the drugs and the jail time that seems to follow child stars like a shadow and actually grow up to be wonderful, respected people and actors, or at least moderately normal.
I was convinced that this movie could be the thing that stopped my brain from seeing this…
“You’re a wizard, Harry.”
‘Horns’ stars Radcliffe as Ignatius “Iggy” Perrish – a young man who, in the aftermath of his girlfriend’s murder, begins to grow a curious set of devil horns.
The people of Iggy’s small town have a lot of opinions, most of those being that Merrin (his girlfriend) was the most beautiful girl in the world and that Iggy is the one who killed her. But when Iggy’s horns begin to grow the people of the town find themselves compelled to tell him their deepest, darkest secrets. He uses this newfound persuasiveness to investigate what really happened the night of Merrin’s death.
The supernatural aspects of this film come very much second to the focus on character relationships which I was so relieved by. There are too many horror and thriller films which let gore and jump scares surpass character interaction in order to bring out an emotional response in an audience.
The film frequently jumps back to Iggy’s youth. His first encounter with Merrin and his early relationships with friends and family makes their present day honesty all the more shocking. They tell him what they are most ashamed of in their lives, what they wish they could do without repercussions and what they really think of him, making for some sickly funny “OMG I can’t believe they just said that” moments and plenty of chaos and violence which Iggy walks nonchalantly by, continuing his mission to get to the truth.
Without giving too much away, I remember feeling disappointed that I had guessed ‘whodunnit’ quite early in the film, however the focus on whodunnit (and the horns, snakes and pitchfork..) does distract you from quite a subtle and sadly beautiful twist which pulls the story to a satisfying end. I rarely find endings satisfying so this was a big success for me.
Radcliffe’s performance is believably not Harry Potter; in fact he is so rooted in the centre of this story that I have trouble even remembering the other characters’ names. Has his performance in ‘Horns’ shed the boy wizard image from my brain? I’m not convinced, only time will tell.
‘Horns’ is advertised as a “Supernatural Thriller” but I feel like it’s more “Dark comedy with supernatural flavour”. Dark comedies are tricky and from my experience talking to peers, not a popular genre. Maybe that indicates something wrong with me, but I love ‘em and this is the best I’ve seen in a long time so add it to your list of Halloween must-sees for me.