Horns (Blu-ray Review)

HornsFrom what I can tell, Horns is going to be like Jennifer’s Body.  It carries that same tone and vibe, but what I’m really getting at is the fact that you’re really going to love it or you’re going to absolutely hate it.  I really can’t see anyone stuck in the dead middle here.  However, that’s just my initial thoughts after having just watched Horns for the first time.  I know and have read many accounts of people praising Horns for daring to be something different and bold.  Regardless, I am a huge fan of what Alexandre Aja has brought us in the past so I decided to tackle Horns on Blu-ray this holiday season, if for nothing else than just utter curiosity.



So Anchor Bay Entertainment and RADiUS are bringing home French director Alexandre Aja’s dark fantasy Horns on Blu-Ray January 6.  Daniel Radcliffe and Juno Temple star in the genre mash-up that John DeFore of The Hollywood Reporter calls “a fable-like horror mystery with strong comic and romantic tendencies.” We’ll see about that.  LOL.  Rounding out the cast are Dexter’s dad, James Remar, Max Minghella, Joe Anderson, Heather Graham and more.  The film is based on the best-selling novel by author Joe Hill.

Horns is actually a mishmash of genres, but I guess on paper you would bill it as a supernatural thriller driven by fantasy, mystery, religion and romance.  In my opinion, they at least got the last two right, but I digress for the moment.  Horns follows Iggy Perrish (Radcliffe), the number one suspect for the murder of his girlfriend, Merrin (Temple).  Like we saw in the much superior film Gone Girl, the press will not leave Iggy alone, nor will the hatred remarks of Merrin’s dad.  Hungover from a night of hard drinking, Iggy awakens to find horn stubbles, I guess you could call them, growing from his head and soon realizes their power drives people to confess their sins and give in to their most selfish and unspeakable impulses (the only laughs I had throughout).  In reality, this newfound paranormal power is utilized by Iggy as a tool to discover what really happened to his girlfriend and from there it kind of spins into a revenge story, one of utter lunacy in my opinion.

So I know I told you a lot up above, but I just want to make sure you know what you are getting yourself into here.  It’s a wild ride, but very rough in my opinion.  The less than spectacular CG doesn’t help either, I’m talking about you fires and the devil.  What I like about Horns are all the reasons why its Rated R, sexual content, some graphic nudity, disturbing violence  and language, but nothing more.  I just could not get into, and while I won’t blame the trailer for marketing me something I wanted to see, I can honestly say that the film’s trailer is more ten times more exciting.

If it sounds like I’m bitter about my experience with Horns, I am.  I wanted so much more out of it.  I really enjoy seeing Daniel Radcliffe taking these controversial roles and step out from under those Harry Potter robes, and while he was pleasing in his performance here, the rest of the film just felt like a teeny bopper movie crumbling from underneath him.  Two hours was just way too long to sit through this.  I could have easily left about twenty to thirty minutes behind on the editing floor.  I loved the musical selections though.  LOL.

All in all, Horns is a bold attempt in dark comedy, but I feel it ultimately unravels in its own silliness despite good performances all around.  Sad but true, I feel cheated by the lack of Heather Graham here.  If you’re really looking forward to seeing her in a bigger role as I was, look elsewhere.  She’s like Jessica Chastain in Interstellar, underutilized.

What worked for me were the loves scenes, that much felt real, and some really good lines of dialogue, but the weirder and darker it got the more I felt separated as it just got too asinine for my own liking and I’m a pretty weird guy.  What does that say about my tastes?  Teenagers may dig this, but I felt too old during this outing.  Oh well, you can’t win them all.



While the film is far from perfect here in my opinion, the video presentation is almost that.

  • Encoding: AVC MPEG-4
  • Resolution: 1080p
  • Aspect Ratio: 2.39:1
  • Clarity/Detail: While there are some soft moments throughout, of the most part the clarity and detail is strong here.  What impressed me the most was how some f the darker scenes were the most focused and sharpest such as flowers at a makeshift memorial site for Merrin.  Of course the stubble on Daniel’s now non-Harry Potter face is quite apparent as well.
  • Depth: The onscreen characters pretty much all have that three-dimensional pop so that makes the depth of field, even inside, quite impressive here.  Even more so are the outside shots and long stretches down the streets.
  • Black Levels: I have no complaints with the black levels here.  For the majority of the film they are all deep and inky.
  • Color Reproduction: The colors outside and of the lush vegetation in the woods are visually striking, but for the most part the colors are restrained inside most likely due to the subject matter.
  • Flesh Tones: The skin tones are natural looking for the most part, but oh does Radcliffe ever look so ghostly white and pasty.
  • Noise/Artifacts: I didn’t notice any appearances of anything unusually ugly, besides all the snakes, that would distract you from enjoying this video presentation.



You wouldn’t expect this one to kick so much and pack such a powerful punch, but I’m here to tell you it does!

  • Audio Format(s): English 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio
  • Subtitles: English, Spanish
  • Dynamics: During the loving moments things get soft, but make no mistake this track packs a wallop when it wants to during the many explosion and action sequences that happen towards the end.  Despite all this, things are balanced well throughout with an immersive score and a rocking soundtrack that had me singing a couple times.  I loved the ambience of it all like when you’re in the forest and you feel like you are because of the authentic sounds of the birds chirping and whatnot.
  • Low Frequency Extension: While it was quiet initially, the LFE channel quickly perks up during scenes like the many cherry bomb explosions, the underwater one while trapped under logs, flashback scenes, shotgun blasts, and more just to name a few.
  • Surround Sound Presentation: Equally impressive were the rear channels here from the bleeding score to a record being stopped from playing on a turntable and pouring rain.
  • Dialogue Reproduction: The dialogue was always clear and intelligible.  Now I did not try this on any other system besides the PlayStation 4, but a couple times throughout the presentation I noticed some slippage where the lips were not synched properly (despite stopping and changing audio sources on my receiver too).  I’m not sure if it was my equipment or not, but I ‘m just pointing out some difficulties I had with this Blu-ray title just in case you have the same and blame me for not warning you.



This section is the easiest to cover here.  Thank goodness for that.  The Blu-ray and DVD both only house one special feature titled “The Making of Horns.”  This makes my job easier here.  Hallelujah!  Let’s take a peek at what the lone supplement holds in store for us.

  • The Making of Horns (HD, 18:48) – The cast and crew talk about the story and events in the film mixed with footage and behind-the-scenes moments.  They also discuss the challenges of tonality here in Horns and all its different genres.  Joe Hill calls it a tragic-comedy-horror.  However, he uses a cooler term that I can’t spell.  LOL.  It’s a tale of horribly lost love and of course revenge.



I’m not sure what I can say that I have not said already.  This was a difficult review to get through, but if you’re curious about this one, then definitely give it a rental.  While the A/V presentation was robust, I can’t recommend a purchase of this Blu-ray title solely on the warrant of the film itself.  I just couldn’t get into it, but I’m pretty sure your results may vary as I appear to be in the minority opposed to others in the industry who really rave about the devilish boldness and originality of Horns.  Until next time…


Pre-order Horns Today!





Owner/Writer/Reviewer/Editor, Dreamer, Producer, Agent of Love, Film Lover, Writer of Screenplays and a Devoted Apostle to all things Ford Mustangs (the real ones with V8's!). Some of my favorite films include FIGHT CLUB, MOULIN ROUGE, THE DARK KNIGHT, STAR WARS alongside television shows such as SEINFELD, 24, SANFORD & SON and even the often loathed in the geek community BIG BANG THEORY. Outside of my three lives I live I also enjoy spending time with my girlfriend and our three girls (of the furry kind).

Comments are currently closed.