A self-obsessed young man makes his way to the party-to-end-all-parties on the last day on Earth, but ends up saving the life of a little girl searching for her father. Their relationship ultimately leads him on the path to redemption.
Jessica De Gouw,
Joe Hill's novel severely stomped on. Pantomime horror minus the horror. Full review #TheSquiss: http://bit.ly/1wTo9Wb
I'm cheesed off, and that's putting it mildly. Do you remember all those fine Stephen King novels that were completely trashed by low budgets and inept directors before Rob Reiner tackled Stand By Me and Frank Darabont sprinkled magic on the near-perfect The Shawshank Redemption? Well, it looks like King Jnr, aka Joe Hill, is doomed to suffer the same fate. Joe Hill is a fine novelist, at least as good as his dad was at the start of his career, but if Horns is anything to go by, he's in for the same painful journey, watching his work trashed on screen until his own Darabont arrives in 30 years time.
Ig Perrish (Daniel Radcliffe) is struggling as the town pariah in the aftermath of his girlfriend's murder. While her family and the town mourn the death of Merrin Williams (Juno Temple) and point their clenched fists at Ig, he begins to sprout a pair of horns. Evil, it would appear, is oozing from him.
The trailer for Horns was mightily impressive. It excited me and instantly became one of my 'must see' films of the autumn. And that's as good as it got.
Director Alexandre Aja's ham-fisted bodge job has filtered out most of the reason, much of the fantasy and all of the horror of Hill's novel. We'll gloss over the annoying voice-over that appears every time Aja runs out of ideas. We'll bypass the donut scene that should be unnerving, a little bit funny and just the slightest bit sexy (in a warped way) and just accept that it becomes an embarrassing mistake. We'll even gloss over the pointless cameo from Heather Graham as an oddball, once again on ham duty rather than acting. These are but minor annoyances.
What the &*%$£@! did Aja do to the horror? At no point is Horns even remotely scary. Not once did I jump or cringe or gasp or wince. No, that's not true; there was plenty of wincing but it was due entirely to the performances. From the screaming child to the embarrassing receptionist, Horns is riddled with pantomime performances best consigned to an Ed Wood cast-off. Heather Graham is in very good company here.
Even Radcliffe, who has wowed on Broadway and showed promised on the screen post-Potter is back to the awkwardness of HP & The Philosopher's Stone. After a similar performance in What If, 2014 is probably a year he should expunge from his CV. Bring on the promise of 2015.
Horns is amateur hour spread across a painful 120 minutes. It is clumsily directed, crash edited and shoveled onto the screen in the belief that the viewers are idiots too stupid to follow a sub plot. There is an over reliance on flashbacks and as for the 'did he do it, didn't he do it' mystery, frankly, who cares?
Horns is a one star film that earns a second for two reasons: 1. Juno Temple, who brings light and joy to almost any screen she graces and, 2. Heather Graham. Ham or not, it's Heather Graham.
Alas, neither compensates for the wanton destruction of Joe Hill's work. Somebody send out a search party for Darabont.
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