Alexandre Aja is one of the most consistently interesting horror directors working today. His Maniac remake–which he wrote with his writing partner, Grégory Levasseur–was excellent, and the work he did direct, such as High Tension (a fascinating movie that irritates the Hell out of me–in an Usual Suspects kind of way. It’s a long story), The Hills Have Eyes reboot, Mirrors, for the most part are sublime.
Which has a lot to do with his last film, Horns, is so disappointing.
I haven’t read the novel by Joe Hill (son of Stephen King), but I would hope that his writing isn’t as erratic, as schizophrenic as this movie was.
My biggest gripe is that I had no idea why things were happening. For instance, the movie opens during a murder investigation, and everyone–including his parents and brother–believes Ig Perrish (Daniel Radcliffe) is guilty.
The problem with this is that he (Spoiler Alert!) didn’t do it, but despite this fact he finds himself growing horns (?), which have two wildly inconsistent abilities.
So let’s for a moment forget that Ig is innocent, which means that there’s no justification for devil’s horns to suddenly start growing out of his head.
Sometimes they bring your most secret impulses to the fore (which leads to quite possibly the most embarrassing doctor’s visit in movie history) unasked. At other times they act like truth serum (or Wonder Woman’s magic lasso, though unlike that magic rope I got the feeling that Ing’s horns would literally do anything that propelled the plot forward, as opposed to having consistent rules).
Then there’s the way that it seems that the presence of the horns are actually due to Old Nick, yet why would Satan care so much about Ig tracking down the person that killed his girlfriend?
What’s worse than the inconsistency is there’s no explanation as to WHY any of this is happening to him in the first place. In fact, the whole idea of him growing horns feels unnecessary and added on.
Then there’s the fact that the movie doesn’t seem to know what it’s supposed to be. There are elements of fantasy (the horns) and horror but the movie doesn’t feel like either a fantasy or horror film.
Which is really irritating.
As I said, I haven’t read any of Hill’s books, but they HAVE to make more sense, as well as being tonally consistent, than this movie.
Horns is currently on Netflix.