BLU-RAY REVIEW: HORNS / CERT: 15 / DIRECTOR: ALEXANDRE AJA / SCREENPLAY: KEITH BUNIN / STARRING: DANIEL RADCLIFFE, JUNO TEMPLE, MAX MINGHELLA, DAVID MORSE, JOE ANDERSON / RELEASE DATE: MARCH 16TH
Ever woken up after a rough night, looked in the mirror, and thought “how did that happen?” So has Ig Perrish (Radcliffe), whose hangover is accompanied by a pair of horns sprouting from his head. The day gets even weirder when he realises these horns make everyone he meets lose their inhibitions and be brutally honest about what they’re thinking. Not even bacon will solve this hangover, which conveniently coincides with Perrish being under suspicion of murdering his girlfriend – but he soon works out that he can use his newfound abilities to uncover the true killer.
While you may know director Alexandre Aja for his all-out horror films – The Hills Have Eyes, Piranha 3D, Switchblade Romance – Horns takes its cues from several genres; it’s a supernatural detective story with black comedy, romance, and occasional chaotic brutality. To the credit of Aja and screenwriter Bunin, the film largely holds all these elements together, with the mystery genuinely engaging, the comedy genuinely funny (Ig’s doctor stops mid-operation to have sex with the nurse), and the supernatural premise building to a horrifying conclusion as Ig is increasingly corrupted by his powers. The only element lacking is the romance, due to Temple’s Merrin being little more than the old Hollywood archetype of ‘quirky murder victim’.
Also to be commended is Daniel Radcliffe, a diversely talented star who’s now well and truly moved on from that certain boy wizard to the point that maybe we’ll soon stop feeling obliged to reference Potter when reviewing his films. Radcliffe gives a layered and gripping performance; he draws us in as Ig, the heartbroken and frustrated young boy, out of his depth in a world out to get him, resorting to smoking and listening to Bowie loudly as we all do in times like this. He then shows a darker side as Ig’s discoveries bring out the anger in him and – let’s just say he becomes more Slytherin than Gryffindor. See, we just had to do it again.
The supporting cast are equally fantastic – look out for Max Minghella as Ig’s childhood friend-turned-lawyer, and, if it’s all seeming a bit too youthful for you, David Morse is great as Merrin’s grieving and angry father. To top it off, the film’s chaotically stylish aesthetics fit perfectly with Ig’s descent into darkness, and provide one of the trippiest drugs sequences you’ve seen since Hunter S. Thompson went to Vegas.
Thanks to its twisted, witty script and a perfectly pitched central performance, Horns gives us one of the more interesting takes on a certain horny creature (and I don’t mean teenagers). It’s a refreshingly weird film that’s more than welcome in a world where it’s easy for horror to stick to well-worn formulae.
Special Features: The Making of Horns
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