If I’m honest I wasn’t sure I would see Horns (2013) through tonight. A big part of that was down to my “love” for Daniel Radcliffe who I much preferred playing a corpse in Swiss Army Man (2016) but that’s not really being fair to the guy who I must give it to him. Trying to make a name for himself as an actor away from the Harry Potter films which he should be grateful for making his so famous (and rich) at a young age. Horns being one of his early attempts to experiment with a new image and ideas far removed from wizardry.
So what made me stick around til the credits this time? Well I think how the filmed played with the devil, emphasising that the devil is a fallen angel, not the horn red devil who tempts you to commits sins and rules over hell with his trident sitting on a thrown above the lost souls who spend an eternity being punished. Well that’s the image that popular culture has built up. It’s a side to the devil that we don’t usually get to see portrayed so I stuck around for a while longer. We first meet the devil in the form of Ig Perrish (Radcliffe) with his childhood sweetheart Merrin Williams (Juno Temple), promising their love to each other, its all very sweet until you really think about what has been said. Before the camera pans down into another world where we find Ig again sleeping on the kitchen floor, a big contrast to the scene we had just left, whats going on here. I’m guessing the name has a link to his love of David Bowie whose music and albums pop up a few times, yet have no real bearing on the tone of the film.
With Ig’s narration (in Radcliffe’s best American accent) he has been charged with the murder of Merrin so it looks like we have left a dream for reality. He’s being hounded by the press and being called the devil, yes it’s a tad literal at times. At the moment nothing really out of the ordinary for someone whose being harassed by the media before they face their day in court. When we meet his family it all seems normal, very supportive towards him. It’s only when he drowns his sorrows do things start to get a bit more interesting. Evidence that could have been in his favor has just been destroyed, might as well enjoy your last days of freedom.
Until the next morning when to stumps pierce through his forehead, and then the truth starts to come out in people. The first few times this is all played for laughs, at the doctors he is met by brutal unprofessional, unadulterated honesty, the kind not even heard in confession. From the stressed out mum to the receptionist who lets rip at the mum. Whilst not even the doctor really cares about the new body parts. It’s as if they are all giving into their darkest desires (some darker than others). They want his approval for these acts, looking to him for guidance like a god, or the devil.
Of course when we’ve had a few laughs at the horns expense things start to get clearer and harder for Ig as he visits his mother (Kathleen Quinlan) wants him to go away, taking his trouble with him, whilst his father (James Remar) wanted him to be as easy to get on with as his bother (Joe Anderson). Not going so well now for him. It starts to work in his favor, all this honesty when he meets the waitress (Heather Graham) who reveals her evidence is just a guise to get her 15 minutes of fame. All of these revelations are sins when you think about it, that when you simplify the film to its basic elements. One of the biggest sins is supposed to be committed by the new devil walking around who discovers these other more minor sins that we all commit, be it thinking about going to far to discipline a child to having an affair with someone, or just holding back the truth.
That’s the first half before the film starts to loose any grip of making much sense, I’m in to deep to walk away now. Having put up with a few flashbacks that establish Ig’s relationships we are see Ig take control, trying to right the wrongs, scaring those who need to be made aware of their own sins. What should be scary is just plain weird even for the overdose sequence, relying too much on C.G.I. to take us into Ig’s world. Really its the addition of the snakes, one I thought was just was the devil in his first biblical form. Before the snakes take on a more literal presence for Ig and the film goes into its ultimate tail spin.
By the time the truth is revealed I have lost all faith in what actually happens, as two friends fight (which is laughable) it’s floundering around really. A false ending before an overblown finale at the lovers tree-house/murder site, we see the C.G.I. really is let loose and things really get silly. What started off as a half decent concept for a film, not that farfetched from a deeply religious country you can see what is going on. We are all human and capable of committing sin, its how far we go with them and how we live with them. Do we give into temptation for resist? That was my reading before things went crazy, imaginations went to far this time.