Horns (2013)

Director: Alexandre Aja
Writer: Keith Bunin
Based on: Joe Hill’s novel
Cast: Daniel Radcliffe, Max Minghella, Joe Anderson, Juno Temple, Kelli Garner, James Remar, Kathleen Quinlan, Heather Graham, David Morse
Seen on: 9.11.2020 [I missed to review this, so you’re getting a late entry.]

Content Note: rape

A year ago, Ig (Daniel Radcliffe) had it all: a nice girlfriend, Merrin (Juno Temple), a good family (Joe Anderson, James Remar, Kathleen Quinlan), a great best friend, Lee (Max Minghella), and many plans. And then Merrin got raped and murdered – and Ig is the only suspect. Bit by bit, his life and he himself fell apart. The day after the anniversary of Merrin’s death, Ig wakes up with the worst hangover of his life – and horns growing out of his head. While Ig still wonders whether the horns are really there or not, he notices that they have an effect on people: They tell him all their darkest secrets and lowest impulses. Soon Ig decides that he will use the horns to finally learn the identity of Merrin’s killer.

I really liked the novel this is based on and then it never came to cinemas here and got kind of lost in my netflix list. But I finally made it and can say that it is a very capable adaptation, even if I didn’t love it as much as the book.

The film poster showing Ig (Daniel Radcliffe) with his horns and a snake over his shoulders. Merrin (Juno Temple is holding on to him from behind.

It’s very possible that i have simply outgrown the novel and its story and that the film therefore felt a little “just okay” for me. It has been quite a few years that I read it. But it definitely didn’t have the compulsive quality of the novel. The pacing was a little off.

And I did take some exception to how Merrin was portrayed (this is not a criticism of Juno Temple who is wonderful as usual). To be fair, this might have been in the novel already, and I don’t remember. But she is basically a perfect angel, as if her fate wouldn’t have been just as bad if she had flaws or hadn’t been a good person.

Ig (Daniel Radcliffe) standing next to a pitchfork.

But I did enjoy the film overall. Radcliffe, Minghella and Anderson had good chemistry and therir characters an interesting dynamic with each other. James Remar dropped in for his few moments to outact everyone. The film also looks good – working nicely with colors and creating some memorable sets.

That the film doesn’t quite reach the heights it may could have is due to the fact that the ending is so much weaker than the beginning (something it shares with the novel it is based on). Still, it is watchable and entertaining enough for the most part.

Lee (Max Minghella) trying to comfort Ig (Daniel Radcliffe).

Summarizing: Fine.

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