You may not realize it, but the movie Horns is based on Joe Hill’s novel of the same name. In case you don’t know who Joe Hill is, he’s the son of writer Stephen King. Pretty cool, right? Hill shows he has inherited his dad’s writing chops when his words come alive on the big screen. Director Alexandre Aja also shows an ability to paint a picture where a combination of a “who dunnit?” meets the world of the supernatural.
This is definitely a film where the movie trailer doesn’t do it justice. It’s advertised as a comedy and while there are jokes at times, it’s more occasional dark humor than straight-up comedy. I remember thinking when I saw the trailer, “Eh, I want to see it, but I’ll wait until it comes out on DVD.” Looking back now, I think it would have been even more powerful in a movie theater. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t think this is the best movie since sliced bread and I’m not saying it should be nominated for an Academy Award. What I will say is that the movie was entertaining.
In Horns, Daniel Radcliffe plays Ig, who adores his girlfriend Merrin (Juno Temple) more than anything. One morning, he awakes to discover that she has been murdered and he is accused of being the murderer. Not long after, Ig develops devil’s horns that pierce through his forehead. The reason he has horns isn’t revealed until about halfway through the movie, but I promise you, the reason is not what you think. Throughout the film, we are taken through a journey of the past and present in order to figure out what really happened to Merrin.
The special effects are very cool. If you’re a fan of both contrasting bright colors and subdued brown and white color, then you’ll enjoy seeing those in this movie. One scene that I noticed and liked–and that will not give away any spoilers–was the introductory scene where Ig wakes up from a drunken night passed out on the floor. The scene starts out upside down and as the camera is slowly righted, we notice a checkered black and white floor. The scene reminded me of “Alice in Wonderland.” I’m pretty sure this was a subtle hint that Ig would be waking up to a world that was not normal for him anymore, a world where things are upside down.
Another thing I liked is how the film shows us Ig and Merrin’s relationship through the years. They have been together since they were kids and we want to believe that the relationship was untainted and pure, but little hints throughout the film push us to wonder if we are wrong. After all, Merrin has always been a good girl while Ig is rebellious. Was it a relationship that was doomed from the start? As I mentioned before, Joe Hill is Stephen King’s son, and because of that, I don’t think it could be helped that his work would inevitably be influenced by his father’s. This film vaguely reminded me of Stephen King’s Needful Things. However, I like that movie so that isn’t a bad thing. I would recommend it if you’re a fan of slow, psychological films where you wonder what will happen with the bad guy.
Would I recommend Horns? Yes, I would. I would say if you’re looking for a movie that is entertaining, mysterious, and pits good against evil, then watch this. If you are looking for a movie with “scare” factor, then this is not the movie for you. I would classify this movie as closer to the science fiction (with a detective story flare) genre than horror. It’s a great movie to watch with your best friend or boyfriend, but maybe not so much a big group. It’s not a deep philosophical movie, but it also isn’t dumbed down. If you’re curious to get a glimpse of what the film is like, here’s the trailer below. Just remember what I said… this trailer doesn’t really do it justice.
And just to satisfy your curiosity, here is an old trailer for Stephen King’s Needful Things: