I’ll be honest, I wasn’t sure if Horns necessarily constitutes the FtTF label, but choosing between that and Unpopularity Content wasn’t easy to do. After all, the film does have an average score of 46% on Metacritic, but no one has paid it much mind since its release, either.
Either way, I watched it shortly after it was released, and remembered enjoying it, so it seemed as likely a candidate as any for a review.
It doesn’t hold up as well on a second viewing. This tells me that much of what Horns has to offer is the central mystery: the age old question of “who exactly did the murder?”. Once all has been revealed, it’s a decidedly different experience.
Now, I know I featured Daniel Radcliffe in our list of Hollywood’s 8 most underrated actors, so I’ll try not to gush too much, but he was excellent in Horns. Following up on the success of Harry Potter with The Woman in Black, Radcliffe’s choice to shift gears to this slightly quirky comedy-horror was an interesting one. Ultimately, it paid off though, as his turn as Ig Perrish is genuinely excellent, and Radcliffe really does carry the film by lending the character a little offbeat charisma.
That isn’t to say that the supporting cast aren’t also great – Max Minghella and Joe Anderson feature as Ig’s best friend and brother respectively, and Anderson in particular delivers a memorable performance. Honestly, the acting is genuinely solid throughout, but its in other ways that Horns disappoints.
What starts out as an intriguing mystery soon becomes a quest for the truth, which then gradually becomes a semi-spiritual tale of conscience and redemption. It’s an interesting idea, although the tonal shifting is a little jarring at times, particular as we approach the film’s climax, where rhyme and reason take a backseat to impressive visuals and questionable character choices.
Overall, that’s not a bad way to sum up Horns‘ story: it’s got all the components of something exciting and original, although it veers off slightly from its path of logic and truth and risks falling pretty flat. The result is something in between – it’s not a bad film, but it’s far from a great one.
In all honesty, I did particularly enjoy Horns‘ soundtrack, and thought I’d be remiss not to mention the use of the music of David Bowie, Pixies and Marilyn Manson, and its excellent use in the film. Horns also has some pretty impressive visuals, with the titular horns actually looking quite impressive, and the transformation scene that occurs later in the film also featured visual effects far more competent that I would have expected.
Ultimately, Horns is worth watching, although once you’ve seen it, it’s only worth revisiting when you need to scratch that specific horror-mystery-comedy itch.
Summary: With good acting, good visuals and a good mystery at its core, Horns delivers a bafflingly average end product. It’s a lot of fun, but it’s also fairly unremarkable.
Highlight: Daniel Radcliffe’s American accent is impressive (as are those of the rest of the central cast, who are also all British for some reason), and there are also a few innovative twists and turns in the narrative.