Directed by Alexandre Aja
Starring Daniel Radcliffe, Juno Temple, Kelli Garner, James Remar and Max Minghella
In the aftermath of his girlfriend's mysterious death, a young man awakens to strange horns sprouting from his temples.
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★★★½ review by Dirk van Eck on Letterboxd
This is a movie about a guy, played by Daniel Radcliffe, who can communicate with snakes. It also involves elements of magic (realism). Who’d ever think that a combination of those things would comprise such an engaging film? Well? And I’m not even biased as a result of Juno Temple’s involvement (not really anyways, since she’s barely in it). No, Horns truly deserves much more praise than it has received, because - setting aside the over-the-top ending - it is (a) hugely entertaining, (b) extremely original and (c) filled with amusing symbolic Easter eggs. I was thrilled. Adding this to my 2013 top 20 now.
★★★★ review by Thomas McCallum on Letterboxd
You can classify Horns as a horror film, right? If you can then this is the best horror film released this year. Horns blends that horror with fantasy, mystery and even comedy. In fact I think I found myself laughing more during this film than I have during a lot of other true comedies this year.
Daniel Radcliffe is legit. He was good in What If, a romantic comedy that didn't exactly require fantastic acting chops. Horns has a little more for him to bite into and he does wonderful work. He's surrounded by some well acted characters played by likes of Juno Temple, Heather Graham, David Morse and Max Minghella. Make no mistake though, this is the Daniel Radcliffe show.
It's incredibly dark while still maintaining a this strange air of "Harry Potter is going to be just fine" which makes for an extremely easy watch. It flies by and there are really no dead spots to speak of. Horns might not be the best film of 2014 but it deserves to be on some year-end lists because it offers a lot of things that haven't been offered up yet this year: love, death, betrayal, exploding heads, ever-growing demon horns and an assload of drugs. Check out Horns and see for yourself.
★★★½ review by Eli Hayes on Letterboxd
Hoop-Tober, Film 31 of 31:
This film is hilarious. It's not meant to be taken seriously but it is tonally confused in the sense that it doesn't attack comedy and drama simultaneously; it alternates between sections of pure comedy and sections of (attempted) pure drama that don't work as well as the comedic ones. But the comedic ones do work - at least for me, they did - and they're the saving grace of the film. The performances are fine, the cinematography is fine (although it does have that ridiculous artificial glow I hate that more and more films are starting to have these days) and the direction is fine - I like Alexandre Aja. Quite a bit, actually. The films he directs are fun and he also happened to write my favorite horror film of the decade so far, Franck Khalfoun's remake of William Lustig's classic exploitation slasher, Maniac. If there's three things that this film left me with, it's that 1) it contains the two best kills of the year, both within the same scene, 2) Harry Potter looks a little bit like a demonic Mrs. Doubtfire when he does the whole devil transformation shtick and 3) ending your film with a Sunset Rubdown song earns it extra points in my book. Seriously though: The Flaming Lips, Pixies, David Bowie, etc. - this film has, at the very least, an awesome soundtrack.
★★★★ review by Robin Solsjö Höglund on Letterboxd
"Well I'll be damned."
"We both will."
I have not read the novel this film was based on, but I have been eagerly awaiting it. Not only because Daniel Radcliffe is shedding his Harry Potter persona properly, but because it was written by Joe Hill, son of my favourite author (Stephen King), and directed by one insanely capable horror director, mister Alexandre Aja. I dare say this is his most beautiful and different film to date, and it blends horror, black comedy, drama and even a touch of romance and tragedy.
Ig Perrish and his girlfriend Merrin Williams have been inseperable for most of their lives, but one day he awakens in confusion to find that she has been murdered, and worse yet, everyone in town is blaming it on him. As he begins to try and clear his name and rinse out all the sins, just the opposite happens - he sprouts a mysterious set of horns and everyone around him begin to show their most brutally honest and horribly depraved sides.
Horns is visually a very striking film, and what surprised me most about it was that it was not simply a horror movie with touches of black comedy, but that it is actually a very character driven piece with moments of true pathos and heartbreak. When the horror comes along it takes different shapes, juggling a tone that is both tragic and twistedly funny, as we see the small town go to Hell around our protagonist, while also revisiting his past to see what led us here. Of course I'd leave it to Stephen King's son to write a story about evil and debauchery in an entire small town!
Daniel Radcliffe tosses himself into the role eagerly, and even if he sometimes overenunciates a little, you quickly forget that he's a British golden boy and only see a very troubled American young man in his stead. Every family has their black sheep, and it's possible this one is not just that but more of a black prince - his journey is largely very enjoyable, sad, alluring and interesting, even if it isn't perfectly flawless. The cast around him is also a very capable one - Heather Graham, James Remar, David Morse and Max Minghella all add to the crazy pot, even if it bounces around a little tonally. Juno Temple plays his girlfriend Merrin (is that an Exorcist reference?), and she's the only person in the cast I do not want to leap out and cast praise upon immediately, but I think that just has to do with personal preference.
The movie is packed with Biblical references and scenes that are both twisted and humorous, and to my delight it also had some scenes of true nightmarish horror. For a movie with so many balls to juggle tonally (black humor, drama, horror, tragedy, romance), I found it quite straightforward in the plot though, other than the flashbacks we follow our character through the small town for two straight hours trying to make sense of his girlfriend's death. It sounds like that couldn't be so bad, but eventually it felt a little like we were going around in a circle and perhaps some of the scenes could have been trimmed a little neater. It all builds to a satisfying climax, it did not quite make the hairs stand up on my arms as I had hoped, but it came somewhat close.
I think some viewers will be turned off by the fact that the characters are leaping so quickly into debauchery and find that it's a movie easier to laugh at than with, but for what it's worth I think this is a fun and unique enough film to warrant a night on the town, perhaps not the timeless masterpiece I was hoping for though.
★★★★ review by Tyler Featherstone on Letterboxd
I didn't know much about "Horns" going into it, other than it starred Daniel Radcliffe and was based off a book my girlfriend had wanted to read. I was glad I got around to watching it. Though a little long, it's a quirky whodunit with plenty of twists and turns along the way.
The movie begins with Radcliffe being accused of killing the love of his life. To make matters worse, one morning he awakens with a pair of horns sprouting from his head. Things only get weirder when he discovers the horns allow him to see people for who they really are.
I did figure out who the killer was going to be with quite a chunk of the movie left to go, but it was still a fun watch. Other than the length, I really had no other complaints about it. It was a novel concept paired with a good soundtrack, well shot and some good performances. A nice balance of the horror, comedy and fantasy elements.
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