Movie review by
Jeffrey M. Anderson, Common Sense Media
Horns Movie Poster Image
Intense horror-fantasy material. Harry Potter this isn't.
  • R
  • 2014
  • 120 minutes

Parents say

age 18+
Based on 1 review

Kids say

age 18+
Based on 2 reviews

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this movie.

Positive Messages

The movie keeps mentioning that devils came from fallen angels and that sometimes people must make decisions based not on the right thing but on the lesser of two sins. But the movie doesn't really follow up on -- or dig very deep into -- these themes. Instead it all boils down to revenge.

Positive Role Models & Representations

The main character gets super powers that let him solve his girlfriend's murder, but they're more or less evil powers, related to devils and demons. He grows to like the powers and to depend on them, even though he knows they're bad. Eventually he uses them not so as much for justice as for revenge.


A woman is brutally beaten, raped, and murdered (with a rock to the head). The gory corpse is shown. In another very gory scene, a character's head is shot off; another character is shot in the leg. On a dare, a kid performs a dangerous stunt, hits his head (blood shown), and nearly drowns. A group of kids plays with cherry bombs; a kid gets his hand blown off -- blood and gore are shown. Characters fight, hitting one another with fists and objects (heavy chains in one scene). Snakes attack characters and kill them. A character is set on fire. A character has a nightmarish, hallucinogenic drug trip. The angry main character throws fits and yells at people.


A man shows his penis in a public place. A young couple kisses and has sex in a tree house. The woman dances for the man, and her loose dress reveals part of a breast. The young man is shown in bed, in the morning, with another naked woman, suggesting that sex happened, though nothing sensitive is shown. Viewers see a flashback (no nudity) to a woman having sex with her golf pro. A doctor and his nurse have sex in a chair, with one breast visible. A boy looks at a nudie magazine, with pictures shown. Two cops kiss and begin to remove their uniforms. Strong innuendo throughout. A scene of urination.


Regular use of strong language, including "f--k," "motherf---r," "c--k," "t-ts," "p---y," "ass," and "piss." "Homo" is used as an insult. The phrase "jigaboo" is used to refer to an African American.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

The main character takes heavily to drink to help him deal with his grief. He's shown passed out with an empty bottle and downing shots of hard liquor. He also smokes cigarettes. A supporting character is a drug addict and is shown snorting coke, taking pills, etc. He has a nightmarish, hallucinogenic drug trip and winds up in the hospital. Characters drive drunk.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Horns is a horror-fantasy-romance about a young man who grows horns and gains superpowers, which he uses to solve his girlfriend's murder. Though it stars Daniel Radcliffe, the movie is absolutely not for Harry Potter fans. It's full of intense material, including gory violence, murders, and fighting, as well as several sex scenes, partial female nudity, and some male frontal nudity. Language is also very strong, including uses of "f--k," "s--t," "c--k," and "p---y." One character drinks a great deal and smokes, and a supporting character is a drug addict. The movie is based on a novel by Joe Hill, the son of Stephen King, and young fans of the book may be interested in seeing the movie.

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Adult Written bybiovox14 November 8, 2020

Very dark, and strange, but good

So this. This is a movie. It has themes of murder, rape, strong drug usage, a disturbing drug trip scene, torture, and various other things. That said its a rat... Continue reading
Kid, 9 years old May 7, 2016

Strange and very violent murder mystery is very mature but great for adults.

This bloody and brutal murder mystery drama mixes tons of horror and a devilish creature as well. Ig Perrish and Merrin Williams have been in-love ever since th... Continue reading
Teen, 16 years old Written bySlendyDaMan September 12, 2016

Good but very violent

This movie is not for kids. I repeat, not for kids. Strong violence and bloody scenes, swearing throughout, graphic sex scenes with female nudity. A man shows h... Continue reading

What's the story?

Ig Perrish (Daniel Radcliffe) and Merrin Williams (Juno Temple) have been in love since childhood. But now Merrin has been murdered, and Ig is the prime suspect. His best pal, Lee (Max Minghella), a lawyer, busily prepares Ig's defense and keeps him out of jail. But while Ig faces angry, accusing crowds and tries to drink his pain away, he wakes up to find that he's begun to grow horns on his head. He quickly finds that the horns give him weird, devilish powers, and he starts to use them to find out who really killed Merrin. But when he does, what will he decide to do?

Is it any good?

Based on a novel by Joe Hill (the son of Stephen King), HORNS feels cramped and cluttered, even at two full hours in length. While a novel might have had more room to explore the story's classical themes of good and evil, the movie can't seem to figure out what it's really about. Ideas are raised, contradicted, and dropped. But these are certainly more potentially interesting than the rudimentary "mystery" that ends up unfolding.

Radcliffe is magnetic here; he's in nearly every scene and is required to give a high-pitched performance, aching and angry. But despite that -- and the fact that there are terrific supporting actors, too, including the always-welcome James Remar and Kathleen Quinlan as Ig's parents, not to mention Temple and David Morse -- none of the characters has much room to develop. Director Alexandre Aja has thus far had an uneven career as a genre director, and he seems to fare better when dealing with lighter material, like Piranha 3D.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about Horns' extreme violence. How did it affect you? How does its impact compare to what you've seen in other horror and fantasy movies?

  • How does the movie treat the subject of sex? When is it shown to be a positive experience, and when is it something to be ashamed of? Parents, talk to your teens about your own values regarding sex and relationships.

  • Does everyone have an "angel" and a "devil" inside? How do we normally deal with them?

  • Why do you think characters drink alcohol or smoke cigarettes in this movie? Do they take pleasure in them? Are there realistic consequences for using them?

Movie details

Our editors recommend

For kids who love scares

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