Wednesday, October 29, 2014

[Review] Horns

Horns is a clumsy fantasy fable and a tonal crapshoot, starring Daniel Radcliffe as the film's horny main character.

Ignatius (Radcliffe) is a raging alcoholic, and he's the main suspect in the twisted murder case of his girlfriend Merrin (played by Juno Temple). But as far as we know, he's innocent. Either way, his life is shambles, and the entire town is after him like a witch hunt. Or more like a devil hunt. The supernatural aspect emerges when Ignatius literally begins growing horns on the top of his cranium. And suddenly, everyone he comes in contact with confesses their sins and secrets to him.

The film starts to take on a black comedy tone, but it also opens the doors for some off-putting absurdity. It's an awkward mixture of camp, gore, melodrama, tragedy, and sleaze. Sometimes hybrids can be fresh, but in this case it comes off as a jumbled mess. It's as if the filmmakers ran completely wild with this and no one questioned whether any of it was a good idea or not.

Despite its awkward fragments and unwanted detours, the story still holds interest, as we really want to know the truth. It's best when it's going full-dark in the latter half. There's a great soundtrack here, consisting of David Bowie, Pixies, and The Flaming Lips. It looks cool visually and captures an Eden-like fantasy world within reality settings. Radcliffe, doing his best American accent, is focused and intense, countering the narrative hodgepodge. Between Horns and this year's surprisingly charming rom-com What If, he seems to be doing a pretty decent job at getting us to stop referring to him as Harry Potter.

Horns is enthralling at its best, and loathsome at its worst. I just wish there was less bullcrap. 


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