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With the death of one town’s little angel comes the rise of a demon, one who exposes everyone’s inner most sinful thoughts.
Trigger Warning(s): Rape scene
Review (with Spoilers)
Between the ever versatile Daniel Radcliffe, Juno Temple who is just in the strangest of movies, and even Sabrina Carpenter from Girl Meets World, you are given a rather odd movie. One which has love and lust; murder and revenge; and has so many weird moments that you may constantly say to yourself: “what the —-?“ But as for whether this is worth seeing, look below.
Characters & Story
After a drunken night, Ig (Daniel Radcliffe) learns his girlfriend Merrin (Juno Temple) is dead and he is considered the likely culprit. Luckily for him, though, his best friend Lee (Max Minghella) is a lawyer and keeps him out of jail. However, with most of the town thinking Ig is undoubtedly guilty, you are led to wonder if maybe he did kill Merrin.
Leading to us watching Ig investigate what happened the night before Merrin was killed, as well as us see their younger counterparts fall in love. Focusing on the investigation, though, as Ig, for reasons unexplained, grows horns on his head, he finds himself getting the truth out of people in its rawest form. Thus leading to them revealing their feelings about Ig, Merrin, themselves, and sometimes acting out these feelings.
While in the criticism I will note the problems with this, I must admit the story and characters certainly kept you glued to the screen. If just because the things characters in this film say and do are sometimes so outrageous that I would say they ultimately are unintentionally funny. For, you see, with Ig’s horns forcing people to say the truth, and giving them the ability to act on it, a lot of weird things happen. Which didn’t make me laugh, since I was just so dumbfounded, but it could make someone laugh. I mean, in the film Ig’s mom disowns him in such a way where I wasn’t sure if I should laugh, feel bad for Ig, or wonder if his mom was sharing drugs with his brother?
That aside, what I liked the most about this movie was the makeup on Radcliffe, as well as Radcliffe’s performance which helped give some sort of structure amongst all of the film’s madness. For while Temple wasn’t that bad as the adult Merrin, and I loved seeing Carpenter as a young Merrin, with Merrin as a whole being a very limited role, it is hard to really give her praise when Radcliffe was doing most of the heavy lifting. Especially since, for the majority of the movie, she isn’t there. Thus leaving Radcliffe to try to balance us wondering if he murdered Merrin or not, dealing with the townspeople who think he did, and presenting what happened between him and Merrin before she died. During which Radcliffe performs with the type of motive in which you can clearly see that an Oscar, BAFTA, and etc., is surely destined for his future.
However, he will not win any awards for this film. To begin, the film has a run time of two hours and you can feel the length of the movie as you watch. Partly because the story sort of feels aimless in its pursuit of the truth, and with very few characters really getting established, you pretty much figure out who truly murdered Merrin way before it is revealed.
But really what makes the film difficult to like is the weirdness of it. For while certainly someone may find what happens in this film funny, I want to note the awkward moments in this film aren’t like a Seth Rogen or Jonah Hill comedy. More so, and realize I have seen very few movies done by him, I’d say the humor of this film is off-putting like perhaps a PG-13 John Waters movie or maybe a bit like The Rocky Horror Picture Show.
And just to give you an idea of what I mean by this: Ig goes to Father Mould (Jay Brazeau) about his horns and how to get rid of them. The Father replies that he has rope in a shed and he can string him up, though he feels like the more decent thing to do would be to let Ig do it himself. Meanwhile, as this is all being said, Brazeau has the most inappropriate smile for the situation that it makes it hard to know whether you should laugh or just be uncomfortable. Though, while there are moments like that one which may laugh, there are also moments which seem overacted like when Veronica (Heather Graham) acts so loopy it is like Graham is auditioning to play Harley Quinn in the next Batman movie.
Overall: TV Viewing
A part of me wants to say to skip this in all honestly, however, I do really like the relationship between Merrin and Ig, both as kids and adults, and Radcliffe does do his best to save the movie from itself. Which, as noted, is an uphill battle. But I think you’ll find Radcliffe to be one of those rare actors who can make a bad movie tolerable. Something he certainly did for this movie, hence the TV Viewing label.