Thursday, March 12, 2015

Weekly schlock and awe movie time!

Horns Movie Tie-In Edition: A Novel

Ignacious Perrish, or Ig as he is called by everyone in the film, has been charged with the murder of his girlfriend Merrin. He is constantly hounded by the media and has become a pariah to the townsfolk. After a night of drinking and hooking up with a childhood friend, horns have started to sprout from his forehead. If that isn’t strange enough everyone can see them and they are not even phased by them. Weirder still is that everyone who talks to Ig can to help from telling him their dirty secrets, base desires and horrible thoughts. Ig realizes that he can use these  horns to help find the real killer of Merrin and clear his name.
I was waiting for Netflix streaming to throw this out there to view, and view I did.
Holy crap snacks Horns is not 100% terrible and really tries to be awesome. Really it tries, but ultimately fails. 

Why awesome? This has all the workings of both a great fantasy story and a crime story. A wrongful man accused of murdering his girlfriend who has to prove his innocence. How? Well by sprouting magical horns that give him a wyrd power of suggestion. What better way to interrogate than by having people just tell you everything you want to know?
There is some great dark comedy. The best bit about the magical horns of truth on Ig is what people tell him. They hold nothing back. This leads to a few scenes that are quite comical if you have a twisted sense of humor. If not, then you’ll find them awful and quite unfunny: the media turning to fisticuffs amongst themselves (in a serious version of the news fight from Anchorman), a guy exposing himself because he has always wanted the world to see his doodle, a pyro, a doctor who hates his patients and wants to diddle his assistant, a mom’s thoughts on her kid, a receptionist’s thoughts on said mom/screaming kid, cop love etc.
There is a smattering of blood and violence, but that doesn’t really add anything to the story. It does help give it  an R rating instead of the teen angsty PG-13 I was expecting.
Why is Horns not awesome all the way through?
Well it is just a mess of genres mashed together. It is listed as horror, but it is neither scary nor very bloody. It is a crime story. It is a redemption tale. It is a love story. It is a fantasy. It is religious allegory. All of these mashed together. Yeah it doesn’t work very well. There are too many crossing genres to keep straight. If they just kept it fantasy crime story it would have worked better. The jumping genre game was just annoying.
The story falls apart halfway through. It is pretty tight and had my interest, and then it craps itself. A second tier sub-plot arises and it is drek. Here comes the heavy handed symbolism and religious references. Hey cross stuff happens. Trippy dream/heaven sequence  stuff. Why  the frak does Ig become a molten and mini version of the demon from Legend? Why did he have angel wings for a quick bit too? Why does our pathetic victim who wants to find the real killer, suddenly becomes a  cruel pseudo-demon covered in snakes. All this makes a fairly weak ending exceptionally puny.

Wait! He looked like this instead.


Then there are the horns. The quintessential part of the film. Why? Are they magical? Are they a gift from a darker powers? Are they a manifestation of Ig’s inner self? Did they sprout because he is evil? I was just supposed to go with the fact he gets them because it is a random weekday morning. Is it cool that he can influence people? Yup. Is it cool that he has a snake posse for some reason? Sure it is. Does tactile memory transfer sound fun? Maybe? Would a tiny bit of exposition would have been cool? Indeed!
Finally, the length and pacing are off here. This could have been a half hour shorter without losing any plot. There is a lot of fat that could have been trimmed. It wouldn't have fixed the problems. It just would have had it end sooner.
There was a ton of potential here and it could have been a great fantasy/magic story set in the modern world. Instead it is; an annoying clashing genres, with lack of explanations that has too many flashbacks and long running time. This drives this film into the you should probably skip it category. A damn shame too.
I guess this is also based on a book. Well after reading some about the book…I’ll skip it too. It sounds better than the movie, but not enough for me to go and read it. 

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