Tag Archives: dark comedy

Movie Review: Horns

by Dan Fields

Daniel Radcliffe pursues the truth with diabolical powers in Alexandre Aja's Horns
© 2013 Dimension Films / RADiUS-TWC

Synergy With The Devil, or
Faust Highway

Alexandre Aja, a French filmmaker gone Hollywood down the most gore-splattered highway possible, engages a story more firmly rooted in the human soul than ever before. His prior moviemaking turns (most recently as producer for a harrowing remake of William Lustig’s Maniac) betray a penchant for jittering, shrieking horror that attacks the senses, the brain and heart second. Horns, based on the much-lauded novel by Joe Hill, plunges his raw director’s hands into a moral fable whose questions and troubling answers require some serious thought.

Ignatius “Ig” Perrish (Daniel Radcliffe) is a tortured soul in a bruised body. His dual burden is to come to terms with the brutal murder of his girlfriend Merrin (Juno Temple), while staving off an angry mob of former friends and neighbors convinced that, despite his acquittal, Ig himself killed off the hometown darling. His only true allies seem to be his brother Terry (Joe Anderson) his defense attorney Lee (Max Minghella), and his torch-carrying bartender Glenna (Kelli Garner), all of whom have known Ig since childhood. Between the three of them, there just might be some answers lurking, but Ig’s impotent rage at the cosmic unfairness of it all seems to have him deadlocked in limbo.

Ig finally lets his rage out in a drunken spree that apparently shakes something loose in either heaven or hell. Waking the next morning, he finds a wicked pair of horns sprouting from his head. Not only that, but everyone he meets treats him differently. His horns grant him a devilish power over people, compelling them to pour out their secret sins and desires. At first an unwilling confessor, he gradually realizes that lurking among the nauseating secrets of his neighbors is the identity of Merrin’s killer. With this in mind, he hones his fiendish influence to maximum effect, stalking the truth around town as the changes in him take deeper root. Continue reading

Movie Review: Horrible Bosses

by Dan Fields
First published July 09, 2011 by the California Literary Review

Take This Job And…

Anyone who has entertained murderous fantasies about a bad boss… dare I say a horrible one… may safely enjoy this airy romp without crossing dangerous lines in real life. Director Seth Gordon, and a very funny ensemble cast, get into all kinds of trouble in this cathartic dark comedy.

Three mild-mannered pals – played by Jason Bateman, Jason Sudeikis, and Charlie Day – collectively decide that they have had enough of their respective employers. Bateman works for a heartless corporate psychopath (Kevin Spacey, doing his most colorful work in years). Sudeikis works for a coked-up loser (Colin Farrell with… ACK! comb-over) who inherited the company from his straight arrow dad (Donald Sutherland, in a kinder gentler version of his role in The Mechanic). Day is a dental hygienist in the employ of a crass, sexually domineering dentist (Jennifer Aniston) whose designs on his virtue threaten his upcoming marriage.

The trouble is that they know little, if anything, about the crafty art of murder, and much of the setup involves their search for advice in that area. In typical fashion for three white dorks, they start flashing cash in bad parts of town, hoping that eager hitmen will seek them out. Sure enough, an enterprising “murder consultant” (the excellent Jamie Foxx) agrees to teach them everything he knows, though he plainly appears to be thinking it all up on the spot.

Take one part 9 to 5, two parts Office Space, and a thin ribbon of either Strangers On A Train or Throw Momma From The Train (the script openly acknowledges the influence of the latter). Continue reading