Monday, 3 November 2014

REVIEW - HORNS (ALEXANDRE AJA)


The sheer amount of concepts folding in over one another in Alexandre Aja's nonsensical Horns will baffle you, their cumulative effect will underwhelm you. Is it possible that Horns can be entirely the sum of all its parts, yet its parts are so numerous and their sum so negligible? A tiresome comedy-horror-mystery film that lacks in departments of comedy, horror, mystery and even the depraved, questionable sense of style that Aja has infused his previous features with, Horns is a classic example of the perils of exploring too many themes, motifs and notions without something solid to bind them together. The film is flimsy, struggling even to make single scenes hold up individually, resulting in a frustrating experience: disappointment follows disappointment, and a horrible feeling of resignation that Aja doesn't have it in him to make anything decent out of such dreadful material has sunk in long before the film is halfway done. And what material this is - potentially passable in the right hands, one can perceive in the empty spaces Aja leaves between the film's duelling genres and wayward chronology the possibility for an exercise in invention, each element in the mix containing its own distinct qualities yet the mix itself holding a singular character. Alas, there's no such invention here, though it's not for lack of effort: Aja employs occasional visual trickery to supposedly enliven Horns, but his typical gimmickry here feels extraneous to the story, rather than contributing to it. These are unnecessary layers of kookiness in a film that surely only required slimming down; Horns has the curious distinction of being flat and bloated in equal measure.