Drugs, alcohol, sex, violence, overt biblical references, and Daniel Racliffe.
I watched Horns (2013) with absolutely no expectations. Somehow, I’d gone without hearing much about the film and didn’t bother checking others’ reviews. Overall, I was pleasantly surprised.
Coincidentally, I’d just watched Bruce Almighty (2003) before watching Horns, so there was a bit of a contrast between the two films: in one, God takes a rather direct hand in helping a protagonist figure out his problems, and in the other, He seemingly has delegated the job to Satan.
In Horns, Ig Perrish (Radcliffe) is suspected by nearly the entire town for the murder of his girlfriend (Juno Temple). Having been on a drunken bender at the time, he’s not quite sure himself whether he did it. Being treated like the devil incarnate, Ig eventually also looks the part when he sprouts horns on his head and finds people confessing their sinful desires to him because of it.
A dark comedy promised and delivered
It’s supposed to be dark, and it’s supposed to be funny—and, yeah, it’s both those things. Overall, it’s definitely darker than funny. Though I wouldn’t personally complain about the balance, I imagine others might not be satisfied with the heavy shift towards the grim as the movie progresses and you’re made privy to more details of the crime which the rest of the plot is built around.
When it works, it works
You hate who you’re supposed to hate, and you cheer on who you’re supposed to cheer on (with some characters, you might flip back and forth). There are a few obvious red herrings, and a few oh-so-they-chose-that-route plot twists, but I found most of the revelations and resolutions to be very satisfying. It’s so hard to have purely surprising twists these days, it’s more about the delivery and whether it works in the context of the whole. I think everything’s delivered fairly well in Horns, if you don’t mind a bit of silliness.
Finish with delicious cheese
A particular part of the film’s climax is a tad over-the-top (reminding me a lot of the demon-themed video game, Devil May Cry—if you’ve played those games and see this movie, you’ll understand why), but after the rest of the silly segments in the film, it fit in rather well. I loved it.
Random thoughts with little to do with the film
One of my first thoughts in the early parts of Horns was about how Christian fundamentalists boycotted Harry Potter because the characters practice witchcraft, and now Radcliffe was playing a character embroiled in Christian themes and imagery (though it’s somewhat satirical, I wouldn’t say Horns paints a hugely negative picture of Christianity).
Another thought that followed, which has little to do with the film itself, was that scruffy Daniel Radcliffe looks like he could play a brother to scruffy Robert Pattinson. After Googling images of the two with their three-day beards, however, I’m now thinking maybe they could just pass as cousins.
I can already tell the film wouldn’t be for everyone, either because it’s too silly or because it’s too grim. However, if you like your humor with a considerable dose of Satan-themed grit, I think you’ll probably enjoy Horns.