Sunday Short Reviews

Every Sunday, Gill delves into his archive of over 800 movie reviews and randomly selects three for your enjoyment! Here are this week’s…

Horns is an unusual horror comedy with a great premise, but the execution may not be for everyone. After his girlfriend is killed under mysterious circumstances, Ig Perrish (Daniel Radcliffe) wakes up to find horns growing out of his forehead. The horns cause the people around Ig to be uncontrollably honest, revealing their darkest secrets and desires whenever they’re in his presence, so he decides to use his newfound power to track down his girlfriend’s killer. Based on a novel by Stephen King’s son Joe Hill, the plot of Horns feels very much like a King story, with flashbacks to the characters as childhood friends, a setting reminiscent of Maine, and a mix of comedy and horror that’s unique. While the inconsistent and downright weird tone of the film might put some people off, I enjoyed it fully, and found that director Alexandre Aja’s horror sensibilities (I’ve loved a lot of his previous work) blended well with the plot of the film. This is also a home run performance from Daniel Radcliffe, who continues to surprise me in his post-Harry Potter career.
3.5 out of 5

Open Windows
I was a huge fan of writer/director Nacho Vigalondo’s time travel movie Timecrimes, and so my expectations were quite high when it came to Open Windows: a high-concept thriller made to look like it was taking place on a computer desktop. Elijah Wood stars as Nick, a big fan of Jill Goddard, an actress played by Sasha Grey. Nick is given the opportunity to spy on her thanks to a hacker who has popped up on his computer and together they threaten and torment Jill. There are, of course, some twists and turns along the way, but the plot is pretty generic for a thriller. The selling point of the film is obviously supposed to be the visual style of the movie. Made to look like a desktop, bits of plot are revealed in pop-up windows, video files being played, internet searches and other actions one might take on their laptop. Unfortunately, I found the style irritating and not especially innovative. The camera will still zoom in on different parts of the screen, guiding our gaze, which detracts from the immersion of seemingly watching it on a computer. It’s a bit of a catch-22, however, because I feel that if the film were presented as a static computer desktop, it would becoming boring pretty quickly. In other words, Open Windows is a neat idea that just didn’t work for me, and without the gimmicky presentation, it’s just a generic thriller.
2.5 out of 5

Deliver Us From Evil
Claiming to be inspired by actual accounts of an NYPD sergeant, Deliver Us From Evil tries to be a cop movie crossed with a horror movie and succeeds in being neither. Eric Bana plays Ralph Sarchie, a cop struggling with personal issues who starts investigating a series of seemingly supernatural crimes. He teams up with a priest played by Edgar Ramirez to attempt to tap into the possible demonic causes of the crimes, and together they track down the man behind all the criminal activity. He turns out to be possessed by him, so our heroic duo perform an exorcism. Deliver Us From Evil is rife with horror cliches, and you’d really be better off watching something like The Exorcist. Nothing about the movie stands out in any way. It was passable on a technical level, and I wouldn’t call any of the performances bad, but better movies exist that deal with the same subject matter, so there’s no reason to watch this one.
2 out of 5

See you next Sunday for more thrilling short reviews!

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