Movie Review: ‘Horns’ Becomes More And More Disjointed As It Progresses

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Preston Barta // Editor

HORNS | 120 min. | Rated R | Director: Alexandre Aja | Stars: Daniel Radcliffe, Max Minghella, Joe Anderson, Juno Temple, Kelli GarnerJames RemarKathleen Quinlan, Heather Graham and David Morse

HORNS, a tale about a young man accused of murdering his girlfriend and grows devil horns on his head, is all over the place in terms of structure. Something about the project, despite the talents from horror extraordinaire Alexandre Aja (THE HILLS HAVE EYES, 2006), feels simultaneously rushed and long-winded.

We come to know the Radcliffe’s character, Ig, and his girlfriend, Merrin (Juno Temple), pretty well for the most part, but we know not much of anything from his other acquaintances and kinfolk. They are just kind of thrown in, and are there just because they need to be (the film is based on Joe Hill’s novel of the same name). Of course, they are not the focus of the story, but they play a big part in the film’s final and most crucial moments. So when those moments come, the impact doesn’t have the proper weight.

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Daniel Radcliffe stars in HORNS. Photo courtesy of RADiUS-TWC.

There are many great scenes in the film, such as one where Ig utilizes the power of the horns to his advantage and has news reporters beat the crap out of each other to obtain an exclusive interview with him. But with every great scene, comes a lot of dry exposition and some big-time tonal issues.

HORNS is far from being a complete waste of time. It’s great to see what Radcliffe brings to the role, and to hear his American accent (as an avid HARRY POTTER watcher, it gets distracting). So while it may not be that rush-out-of-your-house type of October release, it’s worth checking out on a rainy day once it hits store shelves and Netflix libraries.

HORNS opens in theaters tomorrow.

Our Interview with director Alexandre Aja

0:26 | Aja’s inspiration and fascination of the horror genre
2:46 | How the horror genre is constantly reinventing itself
5:18 | The things that happen when you’re young that stick with you for a lifetime
7:00 | On directing Daniel Radcliffe, breaking away from HARRY POTTER

About author

Preston Barta

Hello, there! My name is Preston Barta, and I am the features editor of Fresh Fiction and senior film critic at the Denton Record-Chronicle. My cinematic love story began where I was born: off planet on the isolated desert world of the Jakku system. It's there I passed the time scavenging for loose parts with my good friend Rey. One day I found an old film projector and a dusty reel of the 1975 film JAWS. It rocked my world so much that I left my kinfolk in the rearview (I so miss their morning cups of green milk) to pursue my dreams of writing about film. It wasn't long until I met two gents who said they would give me a lift. I can't recall their names, but one was an older man who liked to point a lot and the other was a tall, hairy fella. They got me as far as one of Jupiter's moons where we crossed paths with the U.S.S. Enterprise. Some pointy-eared bastard said I was clear to come aboard. He saw that I was clutching my beloved shark movie and invited me to the "moving pictures room" where he was screening the 1993 film JURASSIC PARK to his crew. He said my life would be much more prosperous if I were familiar with more work by the god named Steven Spielberg. From there, my love for cinema blossomed. Once we reached planet Earth, everything changed. I found the small town of Denton, TX, and was welcomed into the Barta family. They showed me the writings of local film critic Boo Allen. He became my hero and caused me to chase a degree in film and journalism. After my studies at graduate of the Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, I met some film critics who showed me the ropes and got me into my first press screening: 2011's THE GREEN LANTERN. Don't worry; I recovered just fine. MAD MAX: FURY ROAD was only four years away.