Films | Horns: A poor man’s Pan’s Labyrinth

In new fantasy-horror film Horns, Daniel Radcliffe stars as Ignatius ‘Ig’ Perrish, a man hounded by the press and outcast from his town after he’s blamed for the murder of his girlfriend (Juno Temple).

After one drunken night, Ig wakes up with horns, which he soon learns have supernatural capabilities when people start confessing their darkest secrets to him. Ig becomes a man on a mission to find out who the real killer is and avenge his girlfriend.

The film harbours a few tools that could have potentially led it to cult success, with a beautiful setting, offensive jokes and a feel-good soundtrack. Sadly, the tone is non-committal, messy and tries to tick too many boxes at once.

Horns attempts to grasp the mystical aspect of fantasy-horror, but doesn’t quite reach all the way. The mythical, mystical vibe it gives off mimics Guillermo del Toro’s Pan’s Labyrinth but falls short in comparison.

The landscape in the movie is gorgeous, with distant mountains, sprawling lakes and a quaint little town full of vindictive folk, which certainly lands Horns on the ‘fantasy’ map. However, it often feels like it’s missing emotion in its storytelling.

The goofiness in this movie is prolific, there are plenty of intentional ‘laugh out loud’ moments. The hellish puns and hilariously sinful confessions are amusing, enabling the picture to lean more towards the dark comedy genre rather than fantasy-horror.

A funny exchange between Ig and his doctor sent a wave of chuckles across the cinema hall. “Do they hurt?” says the doctor, as he inspects Ig’s horns. “Yes, like hell.”

Unfortunately, moments that probably shouldn’t have been funny at all still managed to slip out a few snickers. As the events get darker and darker, the ‘horror’ scenes still emit silliness in the most unintentional way possible.

The movie has serious potential, yet you don’t quite leave the cinema feeling like you’d watch it again. Fans of Daniel Radcliffe will not be disappointed; surprisingly, he may just be the saving grace of this movie. Otherwise, you’re better off waiting for it to turn up on Netflix.

Horns will be out in cinemas on Oct 29, 2014