'Horns' Movie Review Roundup: Daniel Radcliffe Horror Film Earns Mixed Notices
Horns, the psychological thriller based off a book by Joe Hill, stars Daniel Radcliffe as a young man named Ignatius who grows the titular horns after he’s implicated in his girlfriend’s murder.
When Merrin (Juno Temple) dies, Ignatius is the prime suspect, though he had no part in her gruesome murder. Despite his best efforts to convince the authorities and the public of his innocence, nothing sways their belief in his guilt. Making matters worse for Ignatius are the conspicuous horns that sprout from the top of his head. Alexandre Aja directed the film, which also stars Max Minghella, Joe Anderson, Kellie Garner, James Reman and Kathleen Quinlan.
Horns Movie Review
Reviews for Horns have been mixed, with critics taking issue with the storytelling at play. At two hours, Horns dragged on for reviewers, who felt like the concept had great potential and that certain story arcs and plot devices worked far better than others. Although the film garnered a lukewarm reception at best, Radcliffe’s performance was determined to be strong.
“Within this overbearing and overlong tale, there are some individual moments that are really quite lovely, from the idyllic, pastoral beauty of the woods to the striking aerial shots of Pacific Northwest coastline. And Radcliffe, through his sheer presence and the piercing honesty of those big, blue eyes, makes this mixed-up material watchable. He’s scuzzy and tormented, drunk or hung-over most of the time, but his directness and his down-to-Earth demeanor give us something to latch onto, even though the Devil made him do it.” – Christy Lemire, RogerEbert.com
“Individual scenes are compelling enough that it’s understandable how “Horns” got stretched to two hours. But that turns out to be too long. This is especially felt in the push toward the climax — that frequent sag point of 20 minutes before the finish. And the ending offers no compensation. Rather, it’s a complicated mess: a storytelling mess, a genre mess, a special effects mess and a theological mess.
The result is that a story with a couple of good ideas founders for lack of a third or fourth good idea. Still, any picture that features Radcliffe having a nervous breakdown for two hours has something to recommend it.” – Mike LaSalle, San Francisco Chronicle
“Ou t to lunch, over the top and tongue-in-cheek are just a few ways to describe the eclectic, eccentric horror fable "Horns." But above all, this largely effective thriller, directed by Alexandre Aja ("High Tension," "Mirrors") and written by Keith Bunin based on the book by Joe Hill (the son of Stephen King), is powered by love — an unlikely engine for a film about a young man who sprouts devil's horns.” – Gary Goldstein, Los Angeles Times
A fable-like horror mystery with strong comic and romantic tendencies, AlexandreAja's Horns draws on source material by cult scribe (and son of Stephen King) Joe Hill to deliver something much more beguiling than the straighter genre fare (High Tension, The Hills Have Eyes) that made his name. Daniel Radcliffe in the lead should help get audiences past the bizarreness of the premise — a man wrongly accused of killing his girlfriend turns into the Devil, sort of — but the pic's ability not to stumble under its peculiar mix of elements is what makes it worth distributors' time.” – John DeFore, The Hollywood Reporter
Horns, rated R, is currently in theaters.