By Craig Singleton (Wigan, England)
Daniel Radcliffe sounds a far cry from his prim routes as the adoption of his accent in this film is incredibly believable. From horror director Alexandre Aja comes this dark fantasy in which a young man named Ignatius Perrish, or Ig, is accused of murdering his girlfriend and is viewed as the devil. Living up to the image, Ig played by Radcliffe begins to have horns grow out from the top of his head. It’s when this happens that people begin to act very strangely in-front of him. He wants the horns to go away but they can’t be removed so now the people of the town who are mourning the death of Ig’s girlfriend Merrin really now believe that Satan has overtaken him.
Having watched the trailer, it seemed like a darker version of Gone Girl as it kind of has the same premise. However, Horns is a million miles away from Fincher’s film. It’s definitely not a usual fantasy route that the film takes as it crosses from dark comedy to crime to drama back and forth throughout. As Ig encounters various people from the small town, they say the most obscene things to him. Sex, murder, hunger, anything. Whatever is on their mind, they share with Ig even though he obviously doesn’t want to know. Ig just wants to know why horns are growing out of his head and who murdered his girlfriend.
In the first act we get to see how Ig met Merrin as kids and how they got together. The story goes to when they are grown up and happy. Ig is madly in love with Merrin played by Juno Temple and she is with him so why wouldn’t he murder her? Everybody believes that Ig did it and when the story flashes back to the night of the murder, it looks as though he had a motive as their relationship hit the rocks. Ig wants to prove his innocence and tries to find out the killer himself.
Having a film cross so much between comedy and drama is sometimes a hard thing to do, especially within a story that revolves around murder. Horns has so much unexpected comedy throughout and almost every line hits. There a quite a few laugh-out-loud moments then they are serious moments reminding the viewer that there was a murder. Even though it crosses frequently, the film didn’t feel uneven. You know when there is about to be comedy in a scene then you know when it’s going to go serious so the direction was very well executed.
The film had a very good soundtrack with recognizable songs played that were relative to the mood in certain parts of the story. It shows that the film has great balance and makes it enjoyable.
The main thing about the story is that if you want the most enjoyment out of it, it’s best to not take it seriously. The death of Merrin was terrible, but because the film goes for so much comedy, random moments and with the hell undertone that it becomes good fun. The dramatic scenes that are done quite well don’t make you want to weep, but the comedy makes you want to laugh. The story adapted from the novel of the same name from Joe Hill could be regarded as a mess regarding the shifting tones, but I found the finished feature funny and dramatic at the same time which made it a great surprise for me.
Radcliffe was a star who had to display many frustrating, angry, confused emotions throughout and he did it with good conviction. His accent seemed to hold up even when he had to raise his voice. The supporting actors didn’t really impress, but they were helped by the great lines they were given. David Morse as Merrin’s grieving father was easily the best actor and there was a small role for Heather Graham as well. The acting didn’t seem to be an issue though apart from the lead. I though the writing was very good and gave the actors chances to shine throughout.
My score for the film is 80%. Lowest mark for acting, highest for writing. Horns is a surprisingly funny as well as a dark film that has great lines and direction. The visuals did lack in most scenes, but practical effects were greatly used when needed and the mark-up for Radcliffe was very convincing. Radcliffe once again distancing himself well from his most famous role and should do more accents as he sounded great.