Directed By: Alexandre Aja
Written By: Keith Bunin, Joe Hill
Time: 120 min
Starring: Daniel Radcliffe, Juno Temple, Max Minghella
Plot: In the aftermath of his girlfriend's mysterious death, a young man awakens to find strange horns sprouting from his temples.
Comments: When I first saw the trailer for Horns I was excited. I had read the book by Joe Hill a while ago and really enjoyed it. While Daniel Radcliffe wasn’t my first choice for Ig, the trailer changed my mind. But of course living in Bozeman means we don’t get a lot of the non-blockbuster films around here. Thankfully it was available via X-Box video. Now before I start with the review I have to say that the book is almost always better than the movie. And yet sometimes, just sometimes, you appreciate them both separately (Practical Magic) for what they are. They are different, but you appreciate them all the same. Horns was like that.
Ignatius Perrish has lost everything. His beloved girlfriend left him and then shortly after he left her standing in the rain she was found raped and murdered. Of course everyone in town thinks that the Ig did it. One year after Merrin was taken from him Ig wakes up with one hell of a hangover…and horns. Many see the horns but aren’t freaked out about them, they are however extremely forthcoming with confessions. Sure this is fun, but then Ig realizes he can use these new powers to find out who really killed Merrin.
I love that Radcliffe is not just Harry anymore. His American accent is the best I have heard thus far from him and he really grew on me as Ig. He had the grief, the suffering, and then the vengeance and the humor. Plus he totally rocked those horns. Similar to the novel Gideon is a Twin Peaks sort of town where everyone lies and broken dreams are currency. Sadly the town of Gideon is not as fun and full of rich odd little characters like it is in the book, but damn it sure is pretty.
Now there are a lot of differences from the book (the absence of Ig’s grandma, Lee’s backstory and injuries, Terry and Eric changes, and the Treehouse of the Mind). I understand why some choices are made cinematically. I am sure many of the characters were cut due to pacing and not being necessary to the central plot of the movie. I think the core is still there though. That is not why the movie suffers. So let’s get to the frustrating bits. We learn who killed Merrin in the third act, but then wait half an hour for the final confrontation. This slows the pacing down considerably. This happened in the book as well, but didn’t seem to bother me. I also wanted the backstory between Lee and Ig. I wanted everyone to see who Lee really was through his mother, through the pitchfork, and all of the past. For some reason the one note of everyone is despicable, everyone lies, and everyone is inherently evil fell a little flat. There weren’t the nuances that were in the book that made it all a bit more palatable. And yet it was still heartbreaking to see Ig realize that everyone around him, even the ones he trusted are horrid horrid people. As a devil, he has my utmost sympathy.
Rent/Cinema? Rent. In all I enjoyed the film, while different from its literary counterpart, but it was missing some of the things that made me fall in love with the book. Worth watching though. I was still entertained, but it might be more of a watch at home thing rather than spending your money seeing it in the theater.