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DVD Review – Horns

3 min read

This is a very bizarre film. Part horror, part fantasy, part love story, part whodunit, and all over black comedy, this film refuses to settle inside one specific genre. But despite the mashing of all these genres, you will probably need to be a genre enthusiast to enjoy this film. You will have to at least be willing to swallow some pretty fantastic events and situations.

Horns InsertLoosely based on the book of the same name by Joe Hill (Stephen King’s son), this has King written all over it. Highly original and often too fantastic for its own good, Horns is the story of Ignatius ‘Ig’ Perrish (Daniel Radcliffe) and his descent into hell after he is accused of killing his girlfriend, Merrin Williams (Juno Temple). The hell I refer to is of course, the one of an innocent man, accused of a murder he did not commit, with an entire town of people branding him a monster.

So what happens? He literally becomes a monster. Following a bender, Ig wakes up with an inexplicable set of horns sprouting from his forehead. Furthermore, it seems these horns bring out the worst in people. Upon seeing them, people cannot help but confess their deepest, darkest sins and fantasies to Ig and when he touches them he can see their memories. A handy gift to have when one is trying to discover the identity of their girlfriend’s killer.

Strong performances from the leading cast, most notably Radcliffe, are what ground this movie in reality. The relationship between Ig and Merrin is the backbone of this film and Temple cannot be ignored in her raw and honest performance of a conflicted young girl in love.

Heather Graham has a small but delightfully wicked role as a local diner waitress obsessed with fame and fortune and David Morse is compelling as Merrin’s bereaved father. Kelli Garner is also a treat in the somewhat heartbreaking role of Glenna Shepherd, one of Ig’s oldest friends and quite possibly the only person in town who believes he’s innocent.

The movie is set in a small logging town, and with several scenes shot in Vancouver, Twilight enthusiasts might even recognise it as Forks. In fact, the movies does have an all over Twilight feel, even the musical score is very Twilight. But it’s no small wonder really, being that it is a Mandalay Pictures production.

There is also a very Twin Peaks vibe about this film with Temple’s character almost paralleling the character of Laura Palmer. It’s basically a case of ‘Small town darling is murdered and small town loses its mind’. Except in this case, the murder victim is actually as wholesome as she has promoted herself to be.

This film is not going to be for everyone. Hill takes his story to the limit and then beyond. Bizarre, weird, quirky, funny, gory, sad and very difficult to categorise, those who enjoy the kind of horror Stephen King is famous for will get a kick out of it. Those who have very strict rules around genre films will probably consider it a frustrating failure. Many will scoff at it.

Directed by Alexandre Aja (Haute Tension, The Hills Have Eyes), Horns is not what critics would consider an important film, but it is a thoroughly enjoyable one. And one that I will more than likely watch again.

Extra Features:

Horns (Behind the Scenes)