Every week we’re bringing you recommendations for great movies or TV shows streaming on Netflix. This week’s selection is…
"Horns” (7 out of 10) – Based on the novel by Joe Hill; Screenplay written by Keith Bunin; Directed by Alexandre Aja; Starring Daniel Radcliffe, Juno Temple, Max Minghella, and Joe Anderson; 120 minutes; Rated R.
I knew next to nothing about this movie other than it starred Daniel Radcliffe and he plays a guy who sprouts horns from his head. I had also watched the below scene but it doesn’t really lend to the plot at all.
In fact, after watching it again, the scene doesn’t really do the movie justice. But the boy who lived with horns growing out of his head was all I needed to put me in the chair. It’s a shame it didn’t get a wider release and better advertising but Netflix saves the day, offering the film to the anyone willing to shell out eight bucks a month.
The movie is disorienting from the beginning with a spectacular shot that moves through the floor then slowly turns. It gave a real sense of vertigo and almost weightlessness, I found myself unconsciously tilting my head as we turned.Radcliffe’s performance as Ig Perrish is spectacular, it’s brooding and dark, he looks like he’s been hit with a sack of hammers while he almost consistently carries a bottle around. He carries the weight of a character torn by grief at the death of his lifelong girlfriend while defending himself from accusations of having killed her.
Those accusations are seemingly confirmed when horns sprout from his head one morning and continue to grow unabated. At first afraid of the horns (as anyone would be) he slowly reveals himself to people in his community who all seem to notice his horns, save for his lawyer, but not really care about them. The horns also seemingly bring the worst out of people within his proximity causing them to state and then act out the secrets they would usually hide.
This story mechanism allows for some pretty dark scenes to take place not only because Radcliffe’s character occasionally uses the ability to coerce people into harming or embarrassing themselves, but because of the things they say and do all on their own. A scene between Ig Perrish and his parents is particularly interesting for its implications.
In a sea of cinematic rehashes, “Horns” is a welcome change of pace.
Between the current day narrative of Perrish digging into the truth of his girlfriend’s death is interwoven the story of their relationship together. Through a series of flashbacks we see them when they’re younger, first meeting in church, falling in love, and then falling apart on the day of her death. Some reviews have called the film a jumble of themes, moving from thriller to comedy with horror fantasy throughout. While the statement may be technically true, I wouldn’t say it’s a bad thing. “Horns” balances those elements well, taking you by turns from laughing to disturbed to emotionally devastated. To me that’s the hallmark of a good story. If you can make me feel all of those feelings and at the same time weave a beautiful and interesting mythology then I’m satisfied as a viewer, or a reader, or listener, or whatever.
I can’t recommend the movie for kids or the faint of heart; this is certainly a departure from the children’s entertainment that made Radcliffe famous. The R rating is well deserved with strong language, nudity, and some relatively disturbing content, but f you’re not bothered by those things than I can’t recommend it enough. In a sea of cinematic rehashes, “Horns” is a welcome change of pace.