Starring Daniel Radcliffe, Juno Temple, and Joe Anderson. Rated 18A.
Who knew that a scary movie based on the bizarre idea of a mortal man growing devil horns could prove so damn captivating? Horns is right up there with The Cabin in the Woods as among the most engrossing horror flicks ever made in and around Vancouver.
The film opens with young lovers Ig and Merrin (Daniel Radcliffe and Juno Temple) professing their undying love for each other while sprawled on a blanket in the woods. "I'm gonna love you for the rest of my life," he vows. "Just love me for the rest of mine," she replies.
Ig then wakes up hungover on his kitchen floor to the nightmare that he’s the main suspect in Merrin’s brutal rape and murder, hounded by rabid media and townsfolk alike. “When they looked at me they saw a devil,” he says in a voiceover, “and maybe I did too. And now I had to look the part.”
That’s when those crazy horns start sprouting from his forehead and—as if he were Satan himself—most everyone Ig encounters proudly blurts out their darkest secrets and most depraved desires. Much hilarity ensues—especially when Heather Graham’s fame-obsessed psycho waitress makes the scene.
But the twisted humour in Horns is tempered by a whole lotta heart, much of it felt in coming-of-age flashbacks of Ig and Merrin’s star-crossed childhood. The performances from the array of teen and adult supporting actors—including James Remar, David Morse, Kathleen Quinlan, and Max Minghella—is first-rate all around, although particularly riveting is Joe Anderson as Ig’s drug-addled musician brother Terry.
Director Alexandre Aja—who blew horror fans away with the grim gore epics High Tension and The Hills Have Eyes before bobbing for bent laughs with Piranha 3D—does a masterful job turning the offbeat premise into a romance-driven murder-mystery fable that keeps you guessing and giggling throughout.
And boy [shakes head in wonder], that shotgun scene is something else.