Horns (2014) – Review

Directed by Alexandre Aja
Written by Keith Bunin from Joe Hill
Starring Daniel Radcliffe, Juno Temple
In the aftermath of his girlfriend’s mysterious death, a young man awakens 
to discover strange horns sprouting from his temples.

Hmm, I’ll admit I really wanted to like this. Honestly, even with the requisite amount of goodwill, I found my positivity being tested within the first twenty minutes. Reaction has been mixed for Daniel Radcliffe’s latest attempt to distance himself artistically from ‘that’ franchise and this is perfectly understandable. This is most definitely not everyone’s R rated cup of tea. 
At its core, Horns is a very sweet, honourably innocent love story, concerning Iggy (Radcliffe) and his sweetheart Merrin (Temple) from when they were still children. We join them shortly before Merrin is murdered and Iggy is accused of carrying it out. Despite his protestations, and no evidence to speak of, the entire town seems to believe that he is guilty of the crime.
Inexplicably, one morning two horns begin to protrude from Iggy’s forehead which upon further investigations, some people can see whilst others cant. The people that can see them also cannot help themselves from divulging their dirty secrets which they would never normally say out loud. Something about the horns, however, is forcing them to be honest. 
Despite its rating, Horns still appears to be squarely for a teen audience with the themes of perfect love and passion being uppermost in a tale that is as unique and original as it is confusing and sometimes laboured. At nearly two hours, you will not be entertained throughout, unless you are constantly amused by Radcliffe’s stab at an American accent, which is not there yet, despite his best efforts to improve it.
The story, for all of the huffing and puffing to get to its finale, is very simple, and take away the horns and the frankly ridiculous and conceivably pointless supernatural overtones and you have a pretty standard thriller, which if we’re honest is not improved vastly by all of the nonsense about the the things growing out of Iggy’s head.
The performances from the two leads, Radcliffe and Temple are great fun on the one hand and perfectly respectable on the other. Temple will do herself no harm at all from what she has provided here, though Radcliffe will have to do more to convince everyone that he’s making the best possible choices in his career. His ‘What If’ appearance alongside Zoe Kazan this year will have done him far more credit professionally then what we see here, although commercially, this will probably be a greater success, with regard to bums on seats.
Worth a viewing if you like either Radcliffe or Temple, or even have read the book and are subsequently interested to see what they have made of it, cinematically. Apart from these reasons, there is little here to provide a draw for the purist or the tourist in you. This comes to the UK at the end of October, and you can guarantee that if you can only make one trip to the theatre that week, this probably shouldn’t be your very first choice.

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