A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
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.
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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?
- In theaters: October 31, 2014
- On DVD or streaming: January 6, 2015
- Cast: Daniel Radcliffe, Max Minghella, Juno Temple
- Director: Alexandre Aja
- Studios: Dimension, Radius TWC
- Genre: Fantasy
- Run time: 120 minutes
- MPAA rating: R
- MPAA explanation: sexual content, some graphic nudity, disturbing violence including a sexual assault, language and drug use
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