Film review: Horns

Horns. They were the only expectations that existed in my wandering mind before previewing the cinematic adaptation of Joe Hill’s supernatural thriller.

Having never read the novel, little was presumed aside from another role in which Daniel Radcliffe was making an attempt to rid the glasses and lightning-bolt scar that have seemingly tarnished his career.

In Alexander Aja’s adaptation, Radcliffe plays the lead role of Ignatius ‘Ig’ Perrish, who stands accused of raping and murdering his childhood sweetheart, Merrin, the night she ended their relationship in a dingy diner.

However, his American accent, his encapsulation of the haunting bereavement after losing the love of his life and the personification of his new devilish attitude, are pulled off by the actor who has received criticism for all his acting roles post-Potter.

The dark fantasy makes spectacular use of flashbacks triggered by both objects and people and incorporates obvious biblical imagery of heaven and hell including snakes, crucifixes and of course, the horns.

The horns sprout from Ig’s head after he is held responsible and believed, even by his own family and neighbourhood, to have committed the sin himself.

In what should be classed as more of a dark comedy than a horror, the horns result in those around him confessing their most sinful secrets and animalistic desires.

Policemen confess their gay lust for one another, a doctor snorts his own pharmaceuticals and journalists fist fight one another for a breaking scoop.

At times the personification of the devil became a little too comedic when in one scene Ig bears a trident with a snake draped around his neck.

Aside from the obvious humour throughout the journey of the film, an intriguing and surprising undertone of emotional and psychological depth resonates after the horns emerge.

The one responsible for murdering the red-headed beauty, played by Juno Temple, remains a subtle surprise for those going into the film blind and although in hindsight clues do litter the early scenes, the whodunit does remain quite the mystery.

Horns boasts a unique and indie soundtrack, featuring Pixies and Sunset Rubdown, which is befitting to the fantasy plot and the captivating Canadian woodland scenery.

Overall, the film is at times a slightly confused amalgamation of magical realism and succeeded in evoking surprising emotions of sorrow and contemplation but lacked any real textbook horror aside from the closing climax.

Main image courtesy of O Cinéma with thanks

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