HORNS (2014)

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Directed By: Alexandre Aja
Written By: Keith Bunin
Based On The Novel By: Joe Hill
Cinematography By: Frederick Elmes
Editor: Baxter

Cast: Daniel Radcliffe, Juno Temple, Max Minghella, Kelli Garner, Joe Anderson , David Morse, James Remar, Kathleen Quinlan, Heather Graham


In the aftermath of his girlfriend’s mysterious death, a young man awakens to strange horns sprouting from his temples.

In full discretion I will admit that I did read the book at least a year before the film came out and was excited When it was announced that there would be a film version starring Shia LeBouf. Then he dropped out and Daniel Radcliffe was cast in his place. It still didn’t deter my interest in the film and once Alexandre Aja was announced as the director. I believed they had found the perfect person to bring it to the screen.

I usually like Alexandre Aja movies as this Is a vast improvement over the film MIRRORS. As here he has the material to match his usually impressive visions that seem to come and go into this film. As at times it feels inspired and others just seems bored or in a rush to get to the next scene that has better set pieces. As in the past it seems he doesn’t do subtlety well and is more excited by the adrenaline and emotions that come from the horror and slaughter ad maybe the build up of suspense. So that is more he is interested in and the dramatics of the story seem to fall by the wayside.

Upon finally watching the film i must say. It’s not bad. In fact the film suffers from a similar problem that I had with the film GONE GIRL. Where I was left to wonder. If you have experienced a narrative based on shock and surprises due to it being a mystery in nature. Once you experience it the second time and you know the results can it be suspenseful or satisfying as it seems to dull the sting of the surprise.

As most it seems are experiencing hear films for the first time as films. It illuminates the experience. So once they choose to read the book. It fills in gaps and details the movie chooses to omit for whatever reasons length, plausibility as all is allowed on the page.

Sometimes experiencing the book after the film makes the whole story and experience feel more full. Like now you have the full Uncensored story.

I believe it’s good to read the book after you watch the film at times. As it feels like you are privy to deleted scenes. Though if you are like me and experience it the other way around, book first. While it still adheres closely to the book. you can see the liberties taken with the story. You know it will equal what you had in your head. As we all have our own interpretations, but you can recognize it’s beats.

The film is competently made and had a good visual sense at times, but still doesn’t manage to fill you with the suspense, excitement and passion you expected. Though it isn’t entirely the films fault. –This film is a bit uncommon as it was always set in a small town , bit feels like a grander story. It’s setting is in the right place as if it was in a cry there would be more witnesses to this phenomenon and more attention would be paid. Even as it seems to be told in a highly populated city that there is so much going on. No one really has time to notice the individual.

In the film the villains motivation Is simplified and generic making it feel less diabolical and gripping and like a strange happy accident that seems to not warrant the amount of trouble and supernatural ramifications it causes. Of course in the book there is more character history and explanations of the characters and their motivations.

Daniel Radcliffe is well cast as I the rest of the film he doesn’t deliver an exactly strong performance but adequate as he still makes you forget he once played Harry potter. Though he might be a little one note. He never let’s his character cherish or go wild with the dark gift that he has been given, that works for the innocence of the Character. But always feels at war or put off by the desires of the audience wanting him to embrace the gift more and inevitably cause more mischief. He doesn’t have the most compelling character to play here. Though is showing himself to be a rather skilled actor.

Juno temple as always impresses as the woman he loves. Who is murdered, and is a free spirit yet surprisingly religious and spiritual. In other words she is clearly the representation of innocence throughout the film.

It’s strange to see Heather Graham who is still beautiful. In such a small supporting yet pivotal role. I only wish she had more to do ad give her character more notes to stay within as her Character seems all over the place.

Not a vigilante tale though a good companion piece to the film THE CROW. With a bit of similar inspiration and circumstances.

The film is more like a dark comedy with some horror and supernatural elements that seem more distracting then to further the story at times, by at least give you a set up for him to use later on. Though on some scenes the film seems to go to extremes to just entertain the audience rather the rhyme or reason.

And as you get away with more on the page as far as degradation with audiences watching the film In  A wide release you can’t get away with the actions and images that the book presents. That are more shocking. Unfortunately in the film it feels at times more like a stunt and even tame considering where it could have gone.

Where as the third act seems to remember that this is a horror film and then add gratuitous violence all of a sudden.

Though the last act fight is underwhelming and some scenes could be awesome they come undone due to unconvincing CGI special effects.

The crudeness and extremes of the film at times. Just seems to come out of nowhere Initially it’s interesting then it seems I become a crutch. That doesn’t feel always necessary and like more of the same.

It also makes the acts hay are done more acceptable knowing that they are influenced in a way. So that you are shocked yet can laugh at it and not be appalled.

Though the story feels original and different deep down underneath it all the much and distractions. It has a purity under the depravity. Like that is the directors vision for the story making his decisions more understandable.

It is a satisfying movie, but feels a little reigned in. Like more could have been done as it is filled with ideas and doesn’t seem to play by any normal rules. It’s good but has the potential to be so much better.

Grade: C+

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