Horns (2014) Movie Review – The Devil You Know

They say the devil’s in all of us. Well, in Alexandre Aja’s Horns, Daniel Redcliffe lets him out to play.

Horns is a fantasy horror set in small town North America featuring Radcliffe as Iggy Perrish, a young local accused of murdering his childhood sweetheart, Merrin (Juno Temple). Ostracised by his community, Iggy drinks. A lot. After another bender, he desecrates Merrin’s memorial, enraged that God let her die. Lo and behold, the next morning Iggy wakes up with horns growing from his head and a unique ability to bring on spontaneous  confessions of the deepest, darkest urges in almost everyone who comes in contact with him. He quickly turns this talent towards clearing his name and solving his girlfriend’s murder, but the closer Iggy gets to catching Merrin’s killer, the more his world, his assumptions and his perception of the people around him are shattered.

While this movie was a little slow to get moving, with Aja expending excessive efforts in spelling Iggy’s self-destructive grief and the stereotypical small-minded village folk (two aspects of the film which verged on overdone because of this effort), the pace picked up as soon as the horns appeared. The momentum is maintained until Iggy’s inevitable and spectacular final confrontation with the killer.

Radcliffe plays a believable devil incarnate with morals and Temple is a perfect fit for the idealised childhood dream girl drifting into adulthood. The large supporting cast of characters were well placed around Radcliffe, doing their bit but never taking the focus from him and those horns, their confessions hilarious in one instance and disturbing the next. The plot itself is layered with complex relationships and sub-plots that are trickled to the viewer over the course of the movie, holding your attention till the credits roll.

Horns rises above the mish-mash of B, C and D grade fantasty horror productions, an example of quality entertainment with a hint of the philosophical. Viewers can’t help but ask questions after watching this movie.

What are the people around them hiding? What if their parents didn’t like them as much as their sibling? Why did the neighbour really take so long to answer the door? Horns brings up uncomfortable questions. Inconvenient questions. Paranoid questions. Questions which always lead back to one that drives this film: how well can you ever really know someone?

Overall, Horns was an engaging and enjoyable movie taking a fresh approach to a genre in need of some creative TLC.

Eight and a half stars out of ten.