Horns stars Harry Potter‘s Daniel Radcliffe as Ig Perrish, a young man in his mid-20s with a big problem – someone has murdered his childhood sweetheart, Merrin Williams (Juno Temple, who is about as close to female perfection as it gets).
Ig’s other problem is that, despite fact that someone killed Merrin other than him, no-one believes him and they all think he did it, making Ig the smalltown public enemy No.1. The fact the laboratory has been burned down, which contained all DNA and evidence samples, and that even the local radio station doesn’t want him DJ-ing while this all hangs over him, isn’t doing him any favours.
So, this is a murder mystery that he’s going to have to solve by himself, but he has even more problems to resolve. Everyone considers him the devil, and now he’s just started sprouting horns from the temples of his bonce! And why is everyone suddenly asking him the questions in life which they’d only, usually, be able to ask themselves? And if they’re not asking him questions, why are they being brutally honest with him about certain touchy issues?
The film also contains a number of flashback scenes telling how everything happened, including going back to Ig and Merrin, at the age of 13 – half an age ago, when they started going out. It’s also interesting to note that both of the adult leads are British – born in London, no less, yet playing American characters.
A lot of young children will enjoy seeing Daniel Radcliffe as Harry Potter in JK Rowling’s wizard-based series, but this film is definitely a LOT too adult for them.
As for the rest of the cast, Max Minghella and Joe Anderson bounce off Daniel Radcliffe well as, respectively, his friend Lee, and his brother Terry. Plus, there’s great support from Kelli Garner as barfly Glenna, Kathleen Quinlan as Ig’s Mum, and James Remar as his Dad, although Mr Remar is best known to some as Dexter Morgan’s late father in the TV series, Dexter, starring Michael C Hall.
Heather Graham has a great turn as bitchy waitres Veronica, and David Morse, as Merrin’s grieving father, Dale, is always worth a watch. In fact, even the rest of the cast bring something to the table, which helps to make Horns such a great watch.
I’d read disparaging reviews of Horns this it came out in the cinema, with everyone giving it so-so reviews, but – and I don’t want to give any spoilers – I think it judges the balance of comedy and drama, and even horror elements, just right. Yes, it’s rather daft on occasion, but even when it’s at its most offbeat, such as one character experiencing the worst acid trip ever, it’s still difficult to fault.
And it might sound daft, but I realised this is the first time I’ve actually seen a whole Daniel Radcliffe movie. I’ve never felt a desire to watch the Harry Potter films, but I’ve seen enough clips of them to feel like I’ve watched them. The only one I have any intention of seeing in full is the third one, Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, as it is directed by Alfonso Cuarón, and I so enjoyed his movies, Gravity and Children of Men, the latter of which has some incredible one-take scenes which last around 20 minutes apiece.
The film is presented in the original 2.35:1 widescreen ratio, shot in anamorphic Hawk Scope, and presented in 1080p high definition, and shows off the stunning Canadian locations in British Columbia perfectly, particularly the port by the sea.
As for the sound, it’s in DTS 5.1 HD-MA and while it’s not a crash/bang/wallop film, it delivers the goods when required, especially when the horror moments kick in.
The extras are as follows:
- Behind The Scenes (18:49): A fairly straight-forward ‘making of’ with comments from all key cast and crew, including plenty of Juno Temple (swoon) and that Radcliffe bloke when they’re talking about their characters’ relationship, plus how the horns were done as well as a number of other aspects I don’t want to spoil.
- Interviews: One with director Alexandre Aja (33:12), where he’s interviewed by someone off-camera. This one is split into 5 chapters. Conversely, the shorter one with Daniel Radcliffe (7:47) is split into 9 chapters and contains some quotes used during the first extra.
The menu shows a still of Daniel Radcliffe and Juno Temple with some subtle animation in the background along with the theme.
There are subtitles in English only and the chaptering is a bog-standard 12 over the 120-minute running time. I’d prefer one every 5 minutes, on average.
Horns is out now on Blu-ray and DVD, which only contains the 15-cert cinema version. Why didn’t Lionsgate put the 18-cert version on both formats? They did this with the first Hunger Games film. The Blu-ray was the uncut 15-cert version, while the DVD was the 12-cert censored cinema version.
Also, click on the Horns packshot for the full-sized image.
Running time: 120 minutes
Cat no: LGB95173
Released: March 16th 2015
Picture: 1080p High Definition
Sound: DTS 5.1 HD-MA, DTS 5.1, Dolby Digital 5.1
Format: 2.35:1 (anamorphic Hawk Scope)
Disc Format: BD50
Director: Alexandre Aja
Producers: Alexandre Aja, Riza Aziz, Joey McFarland and Cathy Schulman
Screenplay: Keith Bunin (based on the novel by Joe Hill)
Music: Robin Coudert
Ig Perrish: Daniel Radcliffe
Merrin Williams: Juno Temple
Lee Tourneau: Max Minghella
Terry Perrish: Joe Anderson
Glenna Shepherd: Kelli Garner
Derrick Perrish: James Remar
Lydia Perrish: Kathleen Quinlan
Veronica: Heather Graham
Dale Williams: David Morse
Eric Hannity: Michael Adamthwaite
Wallace Sturtz: Nels Lennarson
Al O’Hara: Don Thompson
Father Mould: Jay Brazeau
Dr Renald: Alex Zahara
Nurse Delilah: Kendra Anderson
Receptionist: Christine Willes
Mary, young mother: Meredith McGeachie
Little Girl: Sarah Boey
Golf Pro: Panou
TV Reporter: Reese Alexander
Radio Reporter: Desiree Zurowski
Protester: Marilyn Norry
Mrs Tourneau: Nancy Sivak
E.R. Doctor: Cameron McDonald
Diner Manager: John Stewart
Stan, the Barfly: Dean Wray
Unemployed Barfly: Graem Beddoes
Exhibitionist Barfly: Eric Pollins
Antique Store Owner: Pesi Daruwalla
Terry’s Bass Player: Ryan Clare
Terry’s Jazz Quintet: Richard Mitchell
Terry’s Jazz Quintet: Kieron Rhys Lillo
Terry’s Jazz Quintet: Tyson Sully
Terry’s Jazz Quintet: Mark Muskiw
Ig Perrish at 13: Mitchell Kummen
Merrin Williams at 13: Sabrina Carpenter
Glenna Shepherd at 13: Laine MacNeil
Lee Tourneau at 13: Dylan Schmid
Terry Perrish at 15: Jared Ager-Foster
Eric Hannity at 15: Erik McNamee
Reviewer of movies, videogames and music since 1994. Aortic valve operation survivor from the same year. Running DVDfever.co.uk since 2000. Nobel Peace Prize winner 2021.