Truth will out
Release Date: 16 March
2014 | 18 | Blu- ray/ DVD Director: Alexandre Aja Cast: Daniel Radcliffe, Max Minghella, Joe Anderson, Juno Temple, Kelli Garner
Making Joe Hill’s
pleasingly perverse 2010 novel into a movie was always going to be fraught with difficulty, given the way it combines personal tragedy, blacker-than-black comedy and warped horror. In the words of producer Riza Aziz, “navigating the tonality” was the big challenge, and it’s in attempting to do so that the film adaptation loses its way.
The high concept remains compellingly weird. Daniel Radcliffe plays Ig Perrish, a guy living in a town where everyone’s convinced that he murdered his long- time sweetheart Merrin ( Juno Temple). One day, Ig wakes to discover a pair of horns growing out of his head. Unusual enough in itself, but they also lend him a power that could crack the case: the moment anyone looks at Ig, they feel compelled to confess their deepest, darkest thoughts. Cue spit- out- your- tea statements like, “It’s true what they say about black cocks”.
This was darkly humorous in the novel, but simultaneously disturbing. In the film, that unsettling undertone is all too often lost, because performances aren’t kept on a leash. Deadpan delivery is called for; instead, sometimes we’re halfway to a song and dance routine… The worst offender is Heather Graham, in the mercifully small role of a fame- hungry waitress. Her bug- eyed turn belongs in a John Waters movie.
Radcliffe is blameless, convincing and relatable as the grief- stricken and persecuted Ig, while director Alexandre Aja shows flashes of creative flair, and does a solid job with the Stand By Me- ish flashbacks to Ig and Merrin’s teenage years. But he never quite solves the problem of how to meld those clashing tones – or how to wrap it all up in a single setpiece without the CGI- assisted results looking B- movie- silly.
Extras: An 18- minute behind- the- scenes piece has a few neat moments ( like a glimpse of Radcliffe having his horns fitted), but is over- freighted with talking heads; you also get full versions of the interviews with Aja and Radcliffe ( 39 minutes) which it draws upon. Ian Berriman
Finally, finally, his back itch was scratched.