Harry Potter has horns. That’s the main take-away from the new…horror movie, I guess you would call it?…Horns (opening today), starring Daniel Radcliffe and Juno Temple.
When we first see Ig (Radcliffe) and his girlfriend Merrin (Temple), they are madly in love. “Are you feeling horny?” is among the first lines of the movie, setting the cheesy, cartoonish tone for what is to follow. Shortly after seeing them in perpetual bliss, we discover that Merrin has been murdered. The killer hasn’t been caught, but most of the town has already determined that Ig is the guilty party.
And then, Ig wakes up to find that he has grown two horns, protruding from his head. These horns have surprising (and convenient) powers over the people around them, the first-most one being that they make people okay with the fact that Ig has horns growing out of his head. But they also seem to enchant people, who then give unfiltered accounts of exactly what they are feeling, and sometimes offering up their deepest, darkest secrets.
When one thinks of a man with horns, there are obvious biblical implications that arise. Surely, it was not lost on me that they set Ig and Merrin up in a “Garden of Eden” setting to begin. It’s a quite literal leap, but if everyone thinks that Ig is guilty and evil, then why not just give the dude a set of horns?
Most of the film progresses into a who-dun-it, with a few red herrings introduced, as we work with Ig to try to determine who – or what – killed Merrin. But tonally it unravels into a myriad of things. The cheese-ball premise makes you want to buy into its silliness at first, but each step along the way, things become darker and more serious. The more serious the film takes itself, the less it grips us.
It may be unfair to still refer to Radcliffe as Harry Potter, but he will get the comparison as long as he chooses to star in films involving fantastic beings. Horns aside, he does give a committed performance, as does the entire cast, although they are trapped in a holy-hell of a movie.
Horns is a strange movie that doesn’t make it easy for us to wrap our heads around.
Genre: Drama, Fantasy, Horror
Run Time: 2 hours, Rated R
Starring: Daniel Radcliffe, Juno Temple, Max Minghella, Heather Graham, David Morse
Based on the novel by Joe Hill
Directed by Alexander Aja (Piranha 3D, Mirrors, The Hills Have Eyes)
Opens locally on Friday, Oct 31, 2014 (check for show times).
Be sure to watch Tom Santilli on TV! Check your local listings for “Movie Show Plus” for Tom’s weekly movie review segment.
How to read Tom Santilli’s “Star Ratings:”
- 5 Stars: Exceptional, must-see movie
- 4 Stars: Very good movie, not without flaws
- 3 Stars: The movie was just OK, leaves a lot to be desired
- 2 Stars: Pretty bad, a let-down, disappointing, but with some redeeming qualities
- 1 Star: Awful, sloppy, a total waste of time