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Movie Review: "Horns"

There are many movies that are worth seeing, but there are a lot of stinkers as well. My goal here is to weed out the good from the bad.

Horns

Theatrical Release: 10/31/2014

Theatrical Release: 10/31/2014

Synopsis

Ig Perrish (Daniel Radcliffe) has had quite the year. The love of his life, Merrin Williams (Bruno Temple), was raped and murdered exactly one year ago today. However, Ig and Merrin had a very public fight the night of her death, and so the police only have one suspect in Merrin’s murder. Ig loved Merrin, and wanted a life with Merrin. There was no way he would ever hurt her, but he is the last one who saw her alive and is the only one the police can find who has a motive. They did not have enough evidence to convict Ig, but they had enough to slander his name in the small town in which he lives.

Everyone knows the name Ig Perrish, and everyone believes that he was the one responsible for sweet, young Merrin Williams' horrific fate, yet he walks free. His life has changed dramatically over the course of the year, but after the anniversary of Merrin’s death, Ig wakes to find horns growing out of his head. Other people can see them, but they do not freak out. Rather, when people see him, they feel compelled to confess things to him. Whether it be a dark secret, or a sick desire, they always confess something. Among other abilities, Ig can also see people’s pasts just by touching them. Ig has no idea what these horns are or why they are growing out of his head, but he thinks he can use them to finally get some answers regarding Merrin’s death.

Official Trailer

The Pros & Cons

All movies start with an average score of 75pts, points are then added or subtracted based on each Pro and Con. Each Pro or Con is designated points, ranging from 0-10, to convey how significant these Pros or Cons are.

The ProsThe Cons

Ig Perrish (+8pts)

Character Depth (-4pts)

Merrin Williams (+4pts)

Lee Tourneau (-3pts)

The Horns (+8pts)

Book Ending vs. Movie Ending (-3pts)

netflix-halloween-countdown-horns

Pro: Ig Perrish (+8pts)

I think Ig Perrish had a really compelling story. What if the woman you loved was horrifically murdered, and you were the only suspect? What if that happened in a small town where everyone knows your name, and will always associate you with the murder even if the police do not have enough to convict you? Ig is devastated after what happened to Merrin, and his name has been stained by the horrific murder. To make things even worse, the real killer is still out there because the police think they got the guy (Ig), they just think that they did not have enough to put him away.

I really liked the character’s story, and I thought Daniel Radcliffe was a great choice for the role. The character’s story is dark, it is heavy, but there is humor in it. The dark, heavy nature of the character’s story is obvious. The humor comes into play with how other characters react to the horns, as well as how Ig uses his horns to interact with other characters. It was the combination of the humor with the darkness that made the character a pretty complicated one. Nonetheless, Daniel Radcliffe did a truly fantastic job bringing it all to the screen.

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Con: Character Depth (-4pts)

This movie is based on the fantastic book by Joe Hill. Much like his father (Stephen King), Joe Hill writes stories with strong characters in supernatural situations. I read Horns, loved it, and was really excited to see the movie. The book did a great job of setting up each of the main characters. Joe Hill did a really great job of putting me in the mind of Ig, Merrin, and Lee. He made me understand them, and gave a ton of context regarding their friendship together.

The main reason that the book was so impactful for me was because of the strong character development for the three main characters. The movie, unfortunately, lost some of that. Look, I get it. The filmmakers had to condense the book into one movie, so had to cut quite a bit. I do not blame the filmmakers, but in knowing how important fully fleshed out characters were to this story, I cannot help but think that this story would have been better suited for a limited series. I think the filmmakers did just about as good of a job as they could have done with the screen-time they had, but the movie was missing some of the impact that the book was able to deliver.

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Pro: Merrin Williams (+4pts)

Learning more about what happened to this character and her secrets before she died is kind of the whole point of the movie. With that being the case, I am not going to say too much about her, because that would spoil the whole point of the movie. Ig was on a mission to learn more and I enjoyed the mysterious element of Merrin. With everything Ig learned, the story forces the audience to alter their view of the Merrin, as well as her and Ig’s relationship together. I do not want to say much more, because I do not want to ruin it for you, should you choose to watch it. Just know that Joe Hill delivered a rollercoaster regarding the reader’s opinion of Merrin and her relationship with Ig in the book, and the filmmakers of this movie did a pretty decent job of capturing that.

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Con: Lee Tourneau (-3pts)

Of the three main characters, Lee Tourneau was the one that suffered the most from having less development in the movie than the book. Lee is Ig’s best friend, and the book did a really great job of setting him up. This helped add a lot of context to everything that the character said and did. There was a lot of Lee’s friendship with Ig that was cut from this movie to keep the runtime down. The filmmakers kept the bare bones of the character, but the movie was missing the bond that the two characters had in the book. The character was fine in the movie, and I thought Max Minghella was a strong casting choice, but there simply was not enough screen time to flesh the character out properly.

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Pro: The Horns (+8pts)

I thought this was a really unique concept, and it really went along well with Ig's story. He is angry for being blamed for murdering the love of his life, and he needs answers. The horns, and the way they affected him, brought out the character's anger. Additionally, Ig's new power of persuasion, and his ability to see people's pasts, were crucial during Ig's search for answers. The also provided the movie with humor, as Ig was learning more about them and what they could do. The horns were effective as a supernatural element to the story, but they were not random. They were certainly interesting and unique, but they also paired really well with Ig and his story.

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Con: Book Ending vs. Movie Ending (-3pts)

I always find it funny when people criticize a movie for going in a different direction than the book. I very much understand that books and movies are very different forms of storytelling. I understand that what works in a book will not necessarily be best for the movie (and vice versa). Whenever I read a book and then watch its film version, I never expect the movie to be a shot for shot retelling. I expect the filmmakers to take liberties, and I look forward to seeing how the alternate version would play out.

With all of that being said, I think the filmmakers should have stuck closer to how the book ended. I remember reading the book and thinking about how well it would play out on screen. From the showdown between the characters, and how everything went down, I thought the book ended in a pretty climactic, intense, and almost cinematic way. The filmmakers took a risk and made some changes to the ending. By altering which characters were involved, and altering how things played out, the filmmakers delivered an ending that definitely fell short of the book’s ending.

Grading Scale

GradeCategoryPoints

A+

Amazin

95-100

A-

Great

90-94

B+

Good

85-89

B-

Decent

80-84

C+

Average

75-79

C-

Watchable

70-74

D+

Bad

65-69

D-

Terrible

60-64

F

Garbage

45-59

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Grade: B+ (85pts)

I read the book, loved it, got excited to watch the movie, watched it, and I really enjoyed the movie too. Horns is a compelling character story with an interesting supernatural element to it. Despite his innocence, Ig Perrish is blamed around town for murdering the love of his life, while the real killer is still out there. It is a compelling story, before considering the horns growing out of Ig’s head. The horns give Ig abilities that pair really well with his story. They brought out his anger and frustration, and they were essential in his quest for answers. The horns gave the story a unique supernatural flavor, but the best part of the book was its characters.

They were obviously a little less developed in the movie, but I thought the filmmakers did a pretty decent job with it. The character of Lee suffered the most, but the rest of the characters were handled pretty well. The movie ultimately did a good job of capturing the darkness and the humor in Ig’s story. It is certainly a dark, heavy story, but Ig’s abilities provide some humor along the way. The book balanced this well, and the filmmakers did a decent job of capturing balance as well. I liked the book a lot, and while I think this story would have been better suited for a limited series that could have fleshed the characters out more, I think the filmmakers did a pretty good job of capturing this story with the screen-time that they had. It is an interesting and heavy character story, with a fun, unique, supernatural twist.

Comments

Movie Beasts (author) from MA on October 29, 2019:

Thanks for the tip! Yeah, he has definitely chosen a number of unusual, but good movies

Liza from USA on October 29, 2019:

You should! I'm actually surprised by Daniel Radcliffe's performance after been watching him as a boy wizard :) He's a good actor.

Movie Beasts (author) from MA on October 29, 2019:

I have not seen The Woman In Black. I’ll have to check that one out!

Liza from USA on October 29, 2019:

I liked this movie. I think this was the first Harry Radcliffe movie I watched after the Harry Potter series. The Woman In Black was pretty good too.