Horns is a 2013 Canadian-American dark fantasy horror film directed by Alexandre Aja, based on Joe Hill's novel of the same name. Daniel Radcliffe stars as a man falsely accused of raping and murdering his girlfriend (Juno Temple), who uses his newly discovered paranormal abilities to uncover the real killer.
Official teaser poster
|Directed by||Alexandre Aja|
|Produced by||Alexandre Aja|
|Screenplay by||Keith Bunin|
by Joe Hill
|Music by||Robin Coudert|
|Distributed by||Dimension Films|
|Box office||$3.9 million|
Ignatius "Ig" Perrish is the prime suspect when his girlfriend, Merrin, is raped and murdered. Despite his declarations of innocence, he is shunned by the community. He stays with his parents and brother, Terry, hiding from the press. After a vigil led by Merrin's father, who believes Ig to be guilty, Ig drinks heavily, urinates on Merrin's memorial, and wakes up with a pair of horns protruding from his head.
While seeing his doctor about getting the horns removed, Ig, under anesthesia, dreams of his childhood, when he first met Merrin. A young Ig and his friends play with cherry bombs; Ig risks a dangerous dare to win a cherry bomb, and nearly drowns, but is saved by Lee, his childhood friend, and now-lawyer. He later trades the cherry bomb to Lee in exchange for fixing Merrin's broken necklace, and Lee loses two fingers when the cherry bomb goes off accidentally. Ig and Merrin bond over the fixed necklace and fall in love, frequenting a treehouse in the woods together.
It is revealed that Ig's horns force people to tell him their darkest secrets and desires, which, at Ig's bidding, they act upon. Ig visits his parents, but under the power of the horns, his mother reveals that she doesn't want him as her son, while his father tells him that he is worthless without Merrin and that a friend of his helped him burn down the lab where DNA tests were being conducted. Ig goes to a bar, where he goads the reporters into a brawl and attempts to find evidence that he didn't kill Merrin. Several people confess their deepest secrets, and the bartender burns down the building.
From one of the confessions, Ig learns that a new witness in the case is a waitress at the diner where Merrin broke up with him the night she died. Ig finds her and discovers that she has been fabricating her stories to become famous. When Ig talks to Terry, he learns that Terry drove Merrin from the dinner the night she died. When he touches Terry, Ig sees what happened that night: Merrin left the car en route to her home and ran into the woods; Terry passed out in the car, and woke up the next morning with a bloody rock in his hand, finding Merrin dead under the treehouse. Afraid that he would be implicated, he fled. Infuriated, Ig assaults Terry until he is arrested by Eric Hannity, a police officer, and another childhood friend. The next morning Ig is released from jail with Lee's help. Ig notices Lee wearing Merrin's cross necklace and questions him about it; Lee insists that there are things about him and Merrin that Ig never knew.
Later that night, Ig realizes that snakes are following him wherever he goes and uses them to exact vengeance against the waitress. He also gets Eric to act on his feelings for his police partner (who reciprocates his feelings) and forces Terry to overdose on drugs, causing Terry to be tormented by memories of Merrin's death. Ig meets Lee by the docks and pulls off Merrin's necklace; Ig realizes that Lee was unable to see Ig's horns because he was wearing Merrin's cross necklace. Exposed to the horns, Lee falls under their influence, admitting he killed Merrin. In flashbacks, it is shown that Lee was also in love with Merrin and was deeply jealous of Ig throughout their childhood. Lee followed Merrin into the woods, thinking that Merrin had been sending him signals for a long time and that she had broken up with Ig to be with him. When Merrin insists that she loves Ig more than anyone in the world, Lee rapes her in a jealous rage, then killed her with a rock, stole her necklace, and planted the bloody rock on Terry. In the ensuing confrontation, Lee overpowers him and lights him on fire in his car, causing Ig to drive into the bay. Lee claims that Ig confessed to the crime and committed suicide. The horns allow Ig to survive, horrifically burned and disfigured.
Merrin's father, who now believes Ig innocent, gives Ig the key to Merrin's lockbox. When Ig puts on Merrin's cross, his body is restored and his horns disappear. In the box, he finds a note from Merrin that explains that she knew he was going to propose, but she was dying from cancer and didn't want him to suffer, so she pushed him away under the pretense of loving someone else.
Ig confronts Lee, who does not remember their earlier fight, and leads him into the woods where Merrin was killed. Eric and Terry arrive to arrest Lee. Lee confesses to the murder, but then gleefully kills Eric and injures Terry. Ig tears off the necklace, sprouting a pair of wings and bursting into flame, transforming into a demonic monster. Despite Lee mortally wounding him, Ig impales Lee on one of his horns and telepathically forces a snake down Lee's throat, killing him. Saying that his vengeance was all-consuming, Ig dies from his injuries and his smoldering corpse turns to hardened ash, and he appears to be reunited with Merrin in the afterlife.
- Daniel Radcliffe as Ignatius "Ig" Perrish, a 26-year-old man who wakes up after a drunken night to find two protrusions growing from his forehead, which give him the power to compel people to unravel their deepest secrets. Radcliffe stated, "It’s a very, very different type of part than anything I've done before", adding that the role was "deeply emotional and also incredibly outrageous in some ways".
- Mitchell Kummen as young Ig
- Max Minghella as Lee Tourneau, Ig's childhood best friend and now lawyer.
- Dylan Schmid as young Lee
- Joe Anderson as Terry Perrish, Ig's alcoholic, drug-addicted older brother, who is also a talented musician.
- Jared Ager-Foster as young Terry
- Juno Temple as Merrin Williams, Ig's late girlfriend, who is raped and murdered.
- Sabrina Carpenter as young Merrin
- Kelli Garner as Glenna
- Laine MacNeil as young Glenna
- James Remar as Derrick Perrish
- Kathleen Quinlan as Lydia Perrish
- Heather Graham as Veronica, The Waitress
- David Morse as Dale Williams
- Alex Zahara as Dr. Renald
- Kendra Anderson as Delilah
- Michael Adamthwaite as Eric Hannity, Ig's gay friend, who is now a cop.
- Erik McNamee as young Eric
- Desiree Zurowski as Radio reporter
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Explaining his initial interest in the project, Alexandre Aja said "After reading Joe Hill's cult book, I couldn't resist temptation to dive into the devilish underworld and reinvent a universal myth".
Principal photography started late September 2012, in British Columbia. The filming took place in Vancouver, Mission, Surrey and Squamish, completing shooting in December 2012.
Horns grossed a total of $3,875,442 worldwide in 31 days of release.
Horns received mixed reviews from critics. According to the review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes, 41% of critics have given the film a positive review based on 123 reviews, with an average rating of 5.28/10. The critics consensus says "Horns is a bit of a tonal jumble, but it offers enough thoughtful horror-comedy—and strong work from Daniel Radcliffe—to hook genre enthusiasts." On Metacritic, the film has a weighted average score of 46 out of 100 based on 35 critics, indicating "mixed or average reviews".
Joe Hill, who wrote the novel the film is based on, praised Radcliffe's performance, calling it a "wrenching, vulnerable, emotionally naked performance that isn’t like anything he’s ever done on screen before. He is such a wonderful Ig Perrish".
The Guardian scored the film two out of five stars, calling it "a Dogma-style mash-up of grim comedy and religious satire". Eric Kohn of IndieWire wrote, "Predominantly a failure of tone, "Horns" has plenty of admirable traits and yet dooms itself from the outset. It's an admirable conceit stuffed into far less subtle material". Peter Debruge of Variety sensed that the film "benefits from the helmer's twisted sensibility, but suffers from a case of overall silliness". Jonathan Weichsel of MoreHorror.com stated that "The cast is all around terrific, especially Daniel Radcliffe who is nothing short of phenomenal, and the set pieces are entertaining in that wild, over the top way that only horror can pull off effectively.".
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- Horns at Box Office Mojo
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