Reviewed by: Angus Wolfe Murray

"The chiller/thriller mix doesn't set."

What begins as an absorbing murder mystery, with an unexpected truth-telling device thrown in, ends in flames, absurdity and an infestation of snakes.

True love for Ig (Daniel Radcliffe) and Merrin (Juno Temple) starts as children and moves in a misty glow through teenage and almost beyond. They are perfect together until one day her battered body is discovered at the base of their tree house in the forest.

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Everyone knows he did it, or think they know. He is not arrested for lack of evidence but wherever he goes he is treated like the Devil's spawn. There is only one thing he can do, apart from signing a confession, and that is root out the real killer and clear his name.

What brings to this straightforward scenario a fantastical quality are the horns that start to grow out of his forehead. They have special powers, enabling those who look upon them to behave and say exactly what they think and feel which, in another film, could have been hilarious.

Things are too serious here. The crime is especially violent, Ig's situation particularly strange and the conclusion beyond belief. The chiller/thriller mix with paranormal extensions doesn't set. It's too diverse, too other worldly.

Radcliffe acts grief as if his life depends upon it, which is hardly his fault. Ig's lot is not a happy one, which introduces a nagging doubt about the script.

Use a bit of magic if you must, but don't stick it onto a detective story that requires super brains, not super powers.

Reviewed on: 29 Oct 2014
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A man sprouts horns after the mysterious death of his girlfriend.
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Director: Alexandre Aja

Writer: Keith Bunin, based on the novel by Joe Hill

Starring: Daniel Radcliffe, Juno Temple, Heather Graham, Sabrina Carpenter, Joe Anderson, Kelli Garner, James Remar, David Morse, Max Minghella, Kathleen Quinlan, Mitchell Kummen

Year: 2013

Runtime: 120 minutes

BBFC: 15 - Age Restricted

Country: US, Canada


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