Hey guys, Jana here,
Daniel Radcliffe has distanced himself from the boy wizard he used to be and kicked type-casting in the teeth. He’s taken the theater world by storm appearing nude for ‘Equus‘, he’s led the show singing and dancing in ‘How To Achieve In Business Without Really Trying‘. From there he’s added to his film resume with the creepy ‘The Woman In Black‘, he was cast as Alen Ginsberg in ‘Kill Your Darlings‘ that was taken from true events. Radcliffe was paired with Jon Hamm to play the younger doctor to Hamm’s older doctor in ‘A Young Doctor’s Notebook‘, and grew horns from his head for the aptly titled ‘Horns‘.
Director Alexandre Aja (‘The Hills Have Eyes‘) brought the film together with a script from Keith Bunin and based on the novel by Joe Hill. The story is fairly simple, Ig Perrish’s girlfriend is murdered and he wakes up with giant horns protruding from his head. The film combines fantasy and gothic horror with a strong dramatic underline that fuses exceptionally well together. Ig Perrish, who—in the aftermath of his girlfriend Merrin Williams’ mysterious rape and murder—awakes one morning to find horns growing from his head and diabolical powers at his command. Who doesn’t want to see this movie?
The casting was spot on, really. I love Radcliffe and his role as Ig was predetermined to be powerful, but a bit contrived. Maybe his history as a boy wizard made it easier for him to wield his powers in this film, maybe he’s just a natural. Either way, it was a great fit. Merrin was brought to life (metaphorically speaking) by Juno Temple (‘Maleficent‘, ‘The Three Musketeers‘). Joe Anderson (‘Across The Universe‘, ‘The Crazies‘) plays Ig’s older brother, Terry, and Max Minghella (‘The Ides of March‘, ‘The Social Network‘) played the pivotal role of Lee Toruneau. When Ig approaches anyone, no one seems to notice the horns, but they feel a sudden desire to confess their deepest, darkest secrets to him, which, of course is a great tool to use as he tries to uncover the truth of what happened to Merrin, and hopefully exonerate himself as the murderer.
It’s a hellish roller-coaster that seems like it falls just short of what it could have been. Radcliffe seemed out of place in a few scenes, but overall he pulled it off. I’m the girl that always says the book is better than the movie and in this case, it’s just different. As in any adaptation, there is material that doesn’t transfer to the big screen. If they had included a bit more of the book, it may have been a little more cohesive, but even the book jumped around too much. It felt more bizarre and weird than the scare factor I wanted. It’s worth watching just for the entertainment value and will probably make a killing being released Halloween weekend, but I don’t see the word of mouth campaign bringing in bigger numbers. The way to market this film is with the equivalent of a sucker punch. Lure viewers in with the promise of what could be a great film, then give them this. When I read a Joe Hill book, I expect there to be a clear sign that says ‘This is Stephen King’s son’. I read ‘Horns‘ first when I learned it was going to film and was slightly disappointed, but I read ‘Heart-Shaped Box‘ to give him another shot and that is the book they should have made a movie from.
2 out of 5 Stars
– Jana Bowin