Movie Review- Horns (2014)

I enjoyed this movie thoroughly, more than I was prepared to, in fact. The trailers had looked amusing, but it’s short theatrical release and mixed reviews prevented me from giving this one a fair shake. It turned out to be a bizarre, twisted whodunit. Very stylish, sort of Brick meets “Supernatural”.

Iggy Perrish (Daniel Radcliffe) is suspected of murder after the love of his life is found murdered. The town and even his own family turn against him. He loses faith in God, and after a drunken bender that sets him pissing on religious artifacts, he sprouts horns. Far from just head gear, those around him start confessing to their deepest -and sometimes darkest- thoughts to him, and caving into their desires at his mere suggestion. Ig uses this to his advantage to punish those who seek to exploit Merrin’s death, and to seek out her true killer.

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This film is based on a novel by Joe Hill who wrote the graphic novel series “Locke and Key” and enough short stories to rival his father, Stephen King.

The characters themselves are wonderful, the truth is revealed in bits and pieces. But as always in media, certain tropes are prevalent. The male characters exist in many shades of gray. Radcliffe’s Ig is a mess following the death of his one true love Merrin (Juno Temple), he’s drunk and dirty and hanging by a thread. All understandable, but even in flashbacks, we see that he was never the most capable of his friends -Lee fixes Merrin’s cross necklace that Ig then returns for he appreciation, he nearly drowns on a dare. As an adult, he doesn’t seem to have much going on outside of Merrin. Ig’s brother, Terry (Joe Anderson) is a drug addicted musician, he lies to his brother and he didn’t even try to save Ig when he nearly drowned as a kid. Terry is somewhat of a coward. Lee was always the good friend, the attorney who vows to protect Ig, the friend who saved him from drowning, who stayed friends even after Ig gave him a defective cherry bomb that disfigured his hand. But Lee always coveted Merrin.

The women, however, fit another pattern all together. Glenna is promiscuous and viewed by the town as “trash” -she’s also the only person who truly reaches out to Ig, but this is somewhat overlooked. She could have played a more central role, but instead, Iggy encourages her to but the town in her rearviews and start over. Veronica (Heather Graham) lies about seeing Iggy chasing down Merrin and threatening her on the night she was killed so that she can get attention and see herself on magazine covers. She’s vain and vile. A liar. She has no redeeming qualities whatsoever. But Merrin? Merrin is pure, Merrin flirts via morse code and always wears a cross, she’s shown in beautiful dresses, sunlight radiating off her skin. Even in flashback, Lee points out that “Merrin is different from other girls” and he mentions how trashy Glenna is, and that the older boys only keep Glenna around because she’ll give them handjobs. And like all “perfect” women? Merrin dies. And worse? She dies for it.

And that’s why the whole town is angry, why Ig’s mother wishes he wasn’t her son, why his father thinks that Merrin was the best thing about Iggy. Because she was so pure.

Merrin, the mythical “perfect” woman is missed by everyone in a way that causes unending venom to be spewed at Iggy Perrish while Glenna does a Courtney Love impersonation and vain Veronica has seemingly no morals whatsoever.

But after all that, this is a very good flick.

Iggy brings out the worst in people. They delvolve, their deepest, darkest thoughts are acted upon before his eyes once he turns his back on God and grows horns. But he’s not a personification of evil. That’s hard to understand at first. He claims his innocence while turning into a devil. But he’s presented as a fallen angel and Merrin as an angel. Once he realizes how “persuasive” he is, he starts following leads and interrogating townspeople to find the truth. While the audience discovers that Merrin had a secret of her own. And Iggy must decide who is to blame and if his humanity can be saved.

Great effects, solid plot, consistent rules, unique storyline.

twothumbs

 

Movie Review: Devil Incarnate (2013)

Graci Carli stars (sort of) as a woman named Holly who has recently married. Her husband is played by Rod Luzzi. And they are a typical young couple ….who get cursed while on their honeymoon and Holly ends up pregnant with the child of Satan.

Emily Rogers plays Holly’s sister in law, Marissa. She’s queer and adorkable and video tapes everything like Wes Bentley did in American Beauty. Bafflingly; There are no pictures of her on the internet.

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Usually the “devil baby” plotline is a deal breaker. It’s over done. While that’s still true, the characters are far less annoying than their counterparts in other films. The focus shifts from Holly to Marissa early in the film, Trevor isn’t blind to the horrors that his wife is experiencing because of the chance to grow his progeny. Marissa is the first to notice that Holly is behaving oddly -from seducing Marissa and yelling at her in Latin, to making sexual advances towards Trevor’s father.

For reasons unknown, Marissa captures most of this on film. The sheer volume of memory cards required is irrational.

But Marissa’s odd fixation with Holly and her retelling of increasingly strange events to her pre-law BFFL on Skype is charming.

And no one says anything ridiculous like “We have to save the baby !!!!!!!!!!1” when Holly really starts becoming dangerous. Trevor and Marissa head back to the site of the honeymoon, Cassa Dega, to rectify the situation.

The plot doesn’t make as much sense as it could. The reason Holly is carrying the devil spawn is because she was cursed by an old woman, the curse had come to a family after years of infertility. It is revealed that Holly was adopted but the implications weren’t clear to me.

Everyone in the film is relatively unknown and I think that it’s helpful in this case. Found footage movies are just plain everywhere lately and I’m not sure that much was added by having Marissa be a nerd with a camera except aside from an excuse to use edgy camera angles and bad lighting.

3/5

Underburbs Vol. 2

This collection includes issues 4, 5, 6 and 7. Winifred’s quest to turn the people holed up in Mall-Mart into monsters has not been dampened, for the first time ever the door between worlds has stayed open past Halloween night. Angela enrolls in monster school and infiltrates the Underburbs and tries to recover the scroll that can turn humans into monsters and is responsible for keeping the door between world’s open. Winifred spends her time plotting and scheming …and later digging. The girls also start to form a genuine friendship, Angela goes from being a “frenemy” or a man on the inside to being Winifred’s real friend. She’s torn, knowing that she must thwart the “Duchess” 

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Angela also makes friends with Bel a devil girl who hates Winifred but is probably vastly more evil and Shelley… she’s a Frankenstein’s monster who’s always getting chased by angry villagers. Shelley is gawky and awkward and also a good person who keeps an eye out for Angela. The two are supposed to hang out, but Angela gets stuck with Winifred as they face their greatest obstacle yet …BUREAUCRACY. A paper pusher from above ground who ended up with “people fingers” becomes our pale protagonist’s worst foe yet!

The collection has rad extras like early sketches and creature concept development, there’s also “commentary” with characters after each issue. 

Our girls get a little deeper as we get a peek past Winnie’s diva persona and see her homelife is not perfect and see how evil monsters in the Underburbs can be. Angela’s brother (calling himself Death Lantern) and his posse, Demonica and Goth Mummy make mischief but generally being just a clueless goon in the eyes of either Angela or Winifred. Angela has a moment where it’s all too much and she doesn’t know why or how she is trying to stop Winifred. But she makes the best of it while she goes along, trying and succeeding to fit in, leaving us to wonder if she will want to door between worlds closed after all. 

You can purchase Vol. 2 here. And you should. While the concept of a monster high school may not be unique, the human aspect of Underburbs’ main monsters are what really get attention. These issues were awesome and really created depth for our girls. Bonus features add insight into Joe Haley and TJ Dort’s creative process and call themselves out on mistakes along the way. A fun read for sure.

5 out of 5 pumpkins.