TIFF Review: “Horns” – A Devilishly Good Time

Written by Rachel Ganzewinkel September 10, 2013

“Horns” stars Daniel Radcliffe and, boy, is he all grown up. He plays Ignatius Perrish, a man accused of murdering his girlfriend Merrin Williams (Juno Temple). After a particularly self destructive night, Ig wakes up to find he is sprouting horns. And things only get more absurd from there.

Joe Hill lives up to the family legacy

“Horns” is adapted from Joe Hill’s novel of the same name. “Horns” is a film that meets genre and art house, the horns act as a catalyst that move along the plot in this crime caper. As Ig tries to find out who actually killed his girlfriend, the horns help him in unprecedented, and sometimes hilarious, ways.

I think it’s important to note that Joe Hill is Stephen King’s son. His style of story telling is so similar to his father’s in “Horns” that you could swear that it was an adaptation of a King story. The dark sense of humor, the exposure of people’s dark sides and demons, and the implicit commentary on how everyone is filthy with sin and sex are the key elements and themes throughout this story that parallel many of King’s own works. But one thing that I must say about this film adaptation of Hill’s story is that it adapts fantastically. The horror and the humor translate smoothly onto the screen and nothing feels lame or not-that-terrifying once it becomes a visual. Ig’s horns are not ridiculous, in fact that are horrifying and definitely at least a little bit cool looking.

horns-radcliffe

The unique blend of tones in this film lend a feeling of uncertainty of what to expect next. This is an indication of great storytelling. There is not a moment where you know exactly what’s going to happen next. This is where the funniest bits of the movie come in. The tone changes from humorous to dramatic to heartbreaking to sweet and tender so effortlessly and so beautifully that there is absolutely no dead space. There is no filler dialogue or filler silent bits, but everything has purpose and every moment dedicates itself to whatever feeling it needs to convey so absolutely that it’s unbelievably easy to get lost in the world of “Horns”.

Sin, Sex, Sweetness, and…Horns

Not only is the story telling brilliant, but so is the direction. Alexandre Aja worked with the source material beautifully. His direction led to one of the coolest (and most un-lame) uses of slow motion I have seen in a very long time.

Daniel Radcliffe proves himself here as an actor who is capable of not only good (a la Harry Potter) but sin and degradation along with every other person on earth. He drinks, wears the same dirty sweater for days in a row, swears, and has sex. His American accent is also pretty fantastic. His voice becomes much deeper when he speaks without his native British accent, which was a little jarring at first. But you adapt to it quickly enough. Juno Temple is a great match on screen. Her Merrin is sweet but not wholly innocent and someone who is certainly capable (and believable) as a person who can win over a whole town with her inherent loveliness.

horns- radliffe and temple

Overall

The ending of the movie is nuts. It really goes for it all to finish up this strange and intriguing story. The extreme violence and the excellent special effects make for a jaw-dropping ending filled with gasps and justice. Bloody sweet justice. Going into the film I had no idea what I was in for, but what a pleasant surprise of humor, sweetness, and violence “Horns” was. It’s like an un-Disney-fied fairy tale- gruesome, dark, and twisted. The strange premise and mixture of genres make this a truly original and enjoyable story.

 My Rating: 9/10

horns_movie_poster

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About Rachel Ganzewinkel

Rachel loves movies and writing and has found the perfect amalgamation in writing movie reviews for We Eat Films. In between movie watching and the real-life world of work, she enjoys tea, reading, writing, and wearing over-size sweaters (while occassionally doing some of these simultaneously).

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