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Horns is adapted from the 2010 cult novel of the same name from Bram Stoker Award-winner, New York Times best seller and famed writer Stephen King's son, American author Joe Hill. It's also shot on location in British Columbia, and co-stars British actors Max Minghella and Joe Anderson, as Ig's childhood friend and defense lawyer Lee, and Ig's drug addled older brother Terry, respectively.
Since boyhood, the only love 26-year-old Ig Perrish had known was Merrin. His blonde angel, found at church. Pure. Her defiled and broken corpse found in the nearby woods, at the base of their tree house sanctuary-turned-shrine for her soul. Any evidence damning her murderer quickly lost to fire at the coroner's lab, leaving the town and the media to suspect, to blame, to persecute grief-stricken Ig for her death. He'd find her killer, now that people are so uninhibited about sharing their dirty little urges around his newly grown devil horns.
Admittedly, I never read Hill's book, but absolutely love this picture's premise: A good-hearted social misfit demonized for murder, suddenly resembles a demon and inspires the worst in people. For no given reason, he wakes up with horns. Absurdly brilliant. There's a clip in the trailer from an hilarious scene I'm still chuckling about, where reporters hounding Ig immediately brawl bare-fisted with each other at his glib offer of an exclusive interview with the winner. In an earlier scene, a panicked Ig seeking medical help to remove his horns awakens from anesthetic to find his doctor and nurse, uh, mutually distracted mid-surgery by carnal lust. Ridiculously funny. Too bad it's not a comedy.
Daniel Radcliffe is a perfect match for this relatively complex starring role, consistently maintaining a believable and captivating performance as an unwitting victim of weird fantasy and the trigger for unbridled lunacy that unravels around him. Top marks also go to Max Minghella for stepping up with his impressive supporting efforts here. Good stuff. Unfortunately, most of the good stuff this enjoyable cast brings to the big screen is sabotaged by amateurish moviemaking. Production-wise, Horns is a monstrous mess curiously rife with careless pacing and lazy camerawork that, sadly, often feel directed by equal parts feigned interest and crossed fingers.
It could have been better. While the fun outlandish humour and over-all amazing performances led by Radcliffe make Horns worth checking out for horror fans, continually being forced to needlessly grind through bouts of surprisingly mundane-looking, momentum-killing moments makes this trip more a cheap matinee or second rental pick. Reviewed 11/14, © Stephen Bourne, moviequips.ca.
Horns is rated 14A by the Ontario
Film Review Board, citing occasional gory/grotesque images, coarse
language, sexual references, partial or full nudity in a brief
sexual situation, illustrated or verbal references to drugs,
alcohol or tobacco, occasional upsetting or disturbing scenes,
substance abuse, sexual innuendo, implied sexual activity, and
violent acts shown in clear, unequivocal and realistic detail
with blood and tissue damage, and is rated 16+ by la Régie
du Cinéma in Québec.
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