Horns (2014)

Posted: December 7, 2014 in Movie Review
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Directed By: Alexandre Aja

Starring: Daniel Radcliffe, Max Minghella, Joe Anderson, Juno Temple, Kelli Garner, James Remar, Kathleen Quinlan, Heather Graham, David Morse

Synopsis: Ig Perrish, accused of the rape and murder of his longtime girlfriend, wakes up one morning with supernatural powers and horns protruding from his head.

Thoughts: I’ve made more of an effort the last year to read more novels. In my younger years, I read voraciously, but the last ten years I just haven’t made the time. One of the authors that I knew I wanted to check out was Joe Hill, the son of Stephen King. The first book of his that I read was Horns, which I loved. While making my way through Horns, I was hearing rumors that it was making its way to the big screen. Movies that are based on novels are always a mixed bag, and Stephen King’s track record is probably the best example of this. I was cautiously optimistic, with my optimism growing as Alexandre Aja was announced as the director.

The cast is impressive for a genre film. Daniel Radcliffe has shown that he isn’t afraid of the horror genre, already starring in the underrated Women in Black, and does an admirable job here. The role of Ig Perrish isn’t an easy one, and I thought Radcliffe really conveyed the sorrow and despondency rather well. It was the scenes where Ig’s rage exploded that I thought waned a bit. Perhaps it is Radcliffe’s demeanor, but I just thought he had to really push to show anger, and it didn’t feel real.

Radcliffe is surrounded by several accomplished actors as well. Names such as Kathleen Quinlan, David Morse and Heather Graham are not ones you often find in this genre, but their inclusion really took an average script and elevated it.

I’ve been a huge fan of Alexandre Aja since watching Haute Tension and I think that other than missing with Mirrors, he has been one of the better genre directors of the last decade. While Aja has a reputation of extreme violence and gore in his movies, he has also shown a bit more range, whether it is the comedy of Piranha 3D or the dramatic romance of Horns. For my money, it takes more than gratuitous amounts of gore to make a horror movie, and Alexandre Aja has shown he can deliver that.

While I thoroughly enjoyed Horns, it’s far from a perfect movie. The pacing is off and I think Horns could have benefited from some more time in the editing room. While I like the fact that Horns has a lot of dramatic elements to it, the switch from horror to drama is a bit jarring at times. I also thought the script was a bit weak, although the stellar cast really helped alleviate that. While Horns isn’t perfect, it is ambitious and well worth your time.


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