Cast/Crew: Directed & produced by Alexandre Aja (Maniac, Piranha 3D), starring Daniel Radcliffe (Harry Potter) and others who aren’t Harry Potter. Juno Temple plays his late girlfriend, his dad by James Remar (Dexter’s dad, Raiden in MK: Annihilation).
Plot: After the murder of his long-time girlfriend, Ignatius “Ig” Perrish (Radcliffe) is ostracised from the community. He wakes up to find literal horns growing out of his forehead.
Thoughts on the film:
• Did you know? Shia LeBeouf was going to play the lead role, but was replaced by Potter. Thank God!
• The film is spent with Ig piecing together the events of his girlfriend’s last night and uncovering her murderer; periodically interspliced with flashbacks of their relationship (meeting for the first time as children, dates.) They drop plot pieces (phrases, morse code, the treehouse etc) that have relevance & are revisited later in the film. The director caters to those not paying attention/younger viewers as they re-show relevant flashback clips to make sure you got it.
• The film is grounded in reality, except for the ‘devil’ horns – which make people bluntly reveal their most lascivious inner thoughts (mostly cheating, insurance fraud). Even though hurtful, it’s generally a good thing, as ultimately it made some people happier (eg his mother tells him to leave and not be her son anymore). He’s also able to get more answers this way, which furthers the story.
• During a childhood flashback, one of his friends calls him a ‘fag’ and then dares him to cart down a slide naked. What those two together infers comes into play later in the film.
• The soundtrack was chosen by someone who loved late 90s films. The Pixies’ “Where is My Mind”, David Bowie’s “Heroes” and Marilyn Manson’s “Personal Jesus” make appearances.
• I expected the horns to be a psychological metaphor (but people say they can actually see them) and they go farther with the whole Devil motif. This picks up when Ig accepts the horns as part of himself.
• There’s a bit of a religious slant with the “rules” of his horns but it’s never explained why it’s happening to him, or only him, or how, so it’s a little disappointing.
• The film purposely makes you feel different about Merrin (Ig’s late gf). I got annoyed with her slow indecisive whining mid-way through but thought better of her by the end.
• Heather Graham plays a ditsy waitress that has a small but surprisingly memorable role (easily selling out an innocent Ig for a shot at becoming famous).
• There is one flippant use of the word “jiggaboo”.
• Radcliffe is asked if he’s ‘horny’ in the film. Heh heh heh.
• One instance of impromptu nasty male nudity, Radcliffe reacts how you’d expect. There’s also a short flashback sex scene with brief female nudity.
• He’s also got terrible inhaler technique! Seriously.
• I know they wanted to do something big for the final sequence, but doing a big CGI-fest was the wrong choice, IMO. It strayed way past the rest of the film and wasn’t satisfying.
• The cause of Merrin’s death also means there’d be physical evidence of the killer. Did no-one do their job? I am glad however, she didn’t slip on a banana peel and accidentally kill herself (which I always find a cop-out).
• There’s quirky humour (eg eating a full doughnut in one bite) that poke their head in from time to time. It’s odd as his sleuthing is serious and the flashbacks are sentimental, so it’s trying to hit a lot of different emotions.
• Radcliffe did a better job acting than I thought he would, but I never forgot he was Harry Potter. Perhaps building off of this he can move away from that role. He plays the gimmick of the only sane/rational person pushed to the limits, while people act strangely around him.
Overall: It’s a decent flick, it was 2 hours (I don’t think you could’ve cut much out). The revealing of more plot is interesting, but as a whole, I wouldn’t recommend it. A decent film.