Horns (2013)

I honestly don’t know why I dragged my feet on this movie. Harry Potter grows horns and solves a murder, man! And it’s based on a novel by Mr. Joe Hill, the pen name of Stephen King’s son, whose last work I saw was In the Tall Grass (I’ll get to you one day, Locke & Key). If I had taken the time to look at the cast I would’ve also been blown away by names I recognize: Joe Anderson (Across the Universe), James Remar (The Blackcoat’s Daughter), Heather Graham (Austin Powers: The Spy Who Shagged Me), and more! It’s almost like this movie was made for me! Just a shame about the weak points, though.

Harry Potter plays Ig Perrish, a man accused of killing his long term girlfriend, Merrin. He didn’t do it, but even close friends have doubts. He wakes one morning to find the titular horns growing from his forehead, apparently granting him an aura that makes people confess their secret desires and gives him the power to force people to confess their sins. After realizing the people he loves are all pieces of shit, he goes out and tries to find the real killer. And he does! But then he’s burned alive and left for dead. It turns out he’s hard to kill, and Marrin’s cross necklace has the power to heal him and remove his horns. But confronting the killer forces him to remove the cross, turning him into a full on lava demon. He kills the killer, but dies in the process, reuniting with Merrin in the afterlife.

I didn’t name the killer because this is a fun movie and I recommend it, but this is the part where I partially spoil that: it’s the most obvious person possible. There’s an extended flashback of Ig and his friends as kids where he meets Merrin for the first time, and at the end I thought, “Oh, that guy. That guy’s the killer because he’s had a motive for years.” And sure enough, he’s the one person that Ig’s powers don’t work on, allowing the plot to proceed. It’s not a bad thing, and it turns out the killer is a more fucked up person than I initially thought, but the mystery was pretty damn solvable.

And then there’s Merrin. I have spent my life in a decently sized city, so I don’t understand the psychology of what living in a small town does to a person, but her character is… kind of weak. She’s dead before the movie begins (minus a “flashback”), multiple characters lust after her to the point that three guys were obsessed with her the night she died (Ig included), and it just feels like she was an object that the men mourn rather than a full character. What about the other women in the movie? Well, there’s Ig’s mom who hates him, the lying waitress, Ig’s childhood friend who has become a depressed slut, and… uh… the doctor’s assistant that he fucks? The woman who wants to beat her spoiled kid? Merrin’s dead mom? Hell, the men aren’t much better. Just about everyone in this is a horrible person, which I guess was kind of the point? But it’s dialed up to almost cartoonish levels, which does get a little tiresome. Otherwise a fun ride, though.

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