Director: Alexandre Aja
Writer: Keith Bunin (Screenplay), Joe Hill (Novel)
Starring: Danielle Radcliffe, Juno Temple, Max Minghella
Show of hands, who knew Stephen King had a son who also wrote horror? Not me until I heard about this movie. Yes, Joe Hill is the son of the man who would be King, Hill, of course, being the author of the book this film is based on. Now, I haven’t read the book yet so I can’t judge how faithful this is to it’s source material, but I gotta say this film has some scenes with a real Stephen King feel to them, all while establishing a style all it’s own!
The film is about a young man named Ig (Radcliffe) who’s girlfriend is murdered and bad luck turns worse when it’s pinned on him. At a memorial for his murdered ex, Ig desecrates crosses and candles left for her, saying that her faith in God didn’t save her. Well, the next day Ig wakes up with horns growing out of his head. But this is no mere anatomical anomaly, no, no, dear reader. These horns give Ig powers. Those around him confess their darker natures and are subject to his commands. And, as you can see in the pic, he has a way with snakes. Well, Ig now has a way to find out who really killed his girlfriend. And he intends to do just that… and kill them.
First off, Daniel Radcliffe is incredible in this! And his American accent is flawless! That takes dedication, believe you, me. It’s so perfect that it just sound weird to hear him talk knowing full well that he naturally has a British accent. Regardless, he pulls off his role perfectly. And it’s a challenging role too, a roller coaster of different ranges of emotion all hit perfectly. His girlfriend, seen in flashbacks and played by Juno Temple, also shows great talent.
Now, as I said, some points of this film have a real Stephen King feel to them. These parts are the lengthy flashback sequences which show Ig and his childhood friends, establishing their connections. These scenes display very different personalities intermingling and I can only be reminded of the Losers’ Club from It.
But Joe Hill’s story is not just a direct ripoff from the style of dear old dad. It is it’s own journey. If I had to describe it, I would say it was like someone took The Crow: Salvation and crossed it with Donnie Darko. And it works. It’s not strictly horror, perse. It’s a dark fantasy that I feel will be considered a cult classic. Definitely check it out!
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