A movie is rarely judged based only on dialogue and actions. Horns, however, stands out from a pile of B-grade films for being extremely absurd and, to put it bluntly, simply messed up.
Based on the novel of the same name, Horns has Daniel Radcliffe playing the part of “Iggy”, a man in a loving relationship whom wakes up one morning, after a drunken stupor, to learn his girlfriend (Juno Temple) was killed and is accused of murder. Confused and in a blur, he seeks respite from his family, and calls his lawyer friend (Max Minghella) for help on the case.
The next morning, he awakens to find horns on his forehead, no less. While freaking out from his new body part, he notices conversations with people become odd as they voice out their inner thoughts – things you don’t need to hear and don’t want to know – no thanks to his newfound horns. At this point, the film turns into utter mayhem, and you know it is not to be taken seriously.
Even though it’s meant to be a dark fantasy thriller, it certainly goes all out being cringe worthy, and I almost lost it halfway into the movie. Centered on the bond between a group of kids from adolescence into adulthood, Horns has strong focus on the themes of love and jealousy. The child actors are quite decent in their performances and, at some point, steal the show.
Given the aesthetics of the movie, the production design and visual effects team have done well to make the fantastical aspects of the film realistic. Things such as Iggy’s horns and a direct shot of a guy’s head being blown off are shown in great detail. On the other hand, while the film does not have a major plot twist, it’s also not too predictable. Since much focus is on the visuals, the narrative takes its time to pace itself over the course of two hours.
The story intentions of director Alexandre Aja may be good, but how it is portrayed visually can be a rather huge turnoff, and it may not work too well with some. Nonetheless, Radcliffe does entertain as he pulls off his character of Iggy with some effort. Marketed as fantasy crime fiction, it should have ‘comedy’ listed as one of its genres.
Also, the opening and closing shots of the couple look exactly like The Fault In Our Stars. Just saying.
Directed by: Alexandra Aja
Genre: Drama, Fantasy, Horror
Running time: 119 minutes
Classification: M18 – Sexual Scenes, Nudity & Drug Use
Release date: 30 October 2014