Thursday, November 20, 2014

Horns (USA, Canada, 2014)

Nine Things About the Movie Horns

1. The 2010 book on which the movie is based is an original surreal fantasy with commentary on topics such as psychology, love, and God. But this movie adaptation of the novel is one of the biggest disappointments of 2014.

2. Any story about a guy that turns into a demon after his girlfriend is raped and murdered needs to be handled delicately. And I think there needs to be a rule that if you don't understand a book, you can't make a movie about it. In which case, this movie would never have been made.

3. The screenplay is by the relatively unknown playwright and TV scriptwriter Keith Bunin. The movie was directed by Alexandre Aja, a horror director best known for "High Tension" and the 2006 remake of "The Hills Have Eyes". Oh, and, uh, "Piranha 3D".

4. Whatever subtlety exists in the novel was completely lost on Bunin and Aja. They changed a lot of the plot, and they misinterpreted key themes. In short, they turned this story into a silly mess. They simplified everything so much that the movie doesn't even really make sense.

5.  In order to keep the story moving forward, characters have to suddenly change motives with no justification, Random facts and events need to keep dropping into the script, usually for no apparent reason.

6. Daniel Radcliffe (who left Harry Potter behind a long time ago) stars as Ig Perrish, a guy that wakes up from a drunken bender to find horns growing out of his head. Any problems with the movie are not Radcliffe's fault. He does a great job, considering the terrible script he was handed.

7.  Most of the rest of the acting in the movie is not good. But again, that's not because they are bad actors, but because they were forced to turn a relatively sophisticated dark fantasy into a zany horror-comedy-romance-superhero-psycho-thriller.

8.  Some of the make-up and special effects were nicely done. Some were TV-movie quality.

9.  If you haven't read the novel, you might consider this to be a screwy supernatural comedy-drama that doesn't quite go where it needs to. But if you have read the book, you will know that the movie doesn't have a clue as to what it's supposed to be doing.