Remember when it was a thing to write Angel/Demon fan fiction about hot young celebrities starring in fantasy franchises?
Wings on Elijah Wood, Orlando Bloom has a tail, Dan Radcliffe with horns.
Only… the last one’s real now. Who sold their soul?
Horns, based on Joe Hill’s 2010 Bram Stoker Award nominated novel of the same name, has a proper-length trailer out (remember the mini-trailer last year?) and a Halloween 2014 release date. 2013 saw a premiere at the Toronto Film Festival, which gives us the benefit of existing critical reaction. It’s divided. You can look that out yourself.
The story revolves around the death of a woman, and her rape; the trailer features men in active roles and a sweet-faced redhead smiling up at the camera in what looks like flashback. Not progressive, but “strong”. A “strong concept”. There’s some religiosity in there, what with the Horns/devil/evil desires theme — once Radcliffe’s character Ig grows his unexpected horns people are compelled to share their negative urges, and he can compel them to turn thought into action (there’s the usual existential hyper-no of he can’t make you do anything you don’t already want to). The humanism you’d expect from a book that opens and closes with an encoded line from Sympathy for the Devil is all over the story; this guy did that bad thing, that guy did that bad thing, everybody secretly did a bad thing (spoiler) except for the girl, who was Perfect, and we forgive the people we like anyway.
Still, it sounds intense. Doesn’t it? It sounds MADE for the late teen to young adult earnest fangirl, more than almost anyone else, and I’m pleased to see it in that light. “Daniel Radcliffe grows horns”. Like, what else do you need, Scoob?
We’re all familiar with our lead, of course, but what about the rest of the cast and crew? Scriptwriter Keith Bunin is a playwright and describes himself as a “religious polyglot”, which bodes interesting for Horns (film version). Meanwhile, director Alexandre Aja previously directed and co-wrote the atrocious Kiefer Sutherland beater Mirrors, and is (this is old news but apparently still floating) listed on wikipedia as being “set” to direct a live action adaptation of Space Adventure Cobra. That alone means a lot is riding on Horns, because Cobra… Cobra deserves better than Mirrors. Oh my, it does. I’ve gone rigid in horror comparing the two.
Horns has that going for it, then — you’ve seen the evidence. Alexandre Aja knows how to scare.