We have now reached the halfway point in this year’s Fantastic Fest and as traditional, there is a pretty big movie shown to mark the occasion. This year’s film was an advance screening of the awesome new Daniel Radcliffe movie Horns which is now one of my favorites of the whole fest. I was expecting good things based on the awesome trailer, but it’s honestly so well constructed, well-acted, and genuinely funny that I consider one of the best films of the year.
Ig Perrish (Radcliffe) is a young man whose grade school sweetheart and the love of his life has recently been horrifically murdered. Worse still the evidence implicates him and everyone from the townpeople to his own parents feel certain he did it. His proclamations of innocence generally fall on deaf ears and one morning when he inexplicably sprouts a pair of devil horns, it is roundly taken as confirmation of his guilt. In his own quest to find his girlfriend’s killer the horns do seem to offer one superpower; everyone who gazes upon them feels compelled to reveal the naked and often ugly truths about themselves.
Director Alexandre Aja (High Tension, Piranha 3D) really knocks this one out of the park. With an intelligent and witty script by Keith Bunin (adapted from the novel by Joe Hill), Aja crafts an intriguing and visually spectacular supernatural murder mystery. Strong characters and smart dialogue make it compelling to follow the hunt with Ig as he investigates the town with his new horns. The truth telling is fascinating because it’s so shockingly honest and not a Hollywood tinted version of what people compelled to be honest might say (the best example of this is when he speaks to his own parents). Radcliffe continues to expand as an actor and this role allows him to explore whole new depths of anger and grief. Aiding all these elements is an appropriate devil rock soundtrack highlighting parts of his rampage.
Horns opens on Halloween and I think it will do well. It’s so much fun and well-made that it has broad appeal, especially over Halloween. This is a top notch murder mystery with laughs in all the right places. I recommend it for everyone from the horror crowd all the way down to the date night set.
Adam Ruhl is a writer and life long Cinephile. He is the Executive
Cinema Editor of Pop Culture Beast’s Austin branch; covering festivals,
conventions, and new releases. When not filing reports, Adam can be
found stalking Alamo Drafthouse Programmers for leads on upcoming
DrafthouseFilms titles. Adam once blocked Harry Knowles entrance to a
theater until he was given extra tickets to a Roman Polanski movie.