The Hangover (2009)

2016 #40
Todd Phillips | 96 mins | streaming (HD) | 2.35:1 | USA & Germany / English | 15 / R

I confess, I only watched The Hangover to see what the fuss was about, and to get the tick on iCM’s Most Checked.

The high-concept plot (guys on a stag are unable to remember the night before, but must use the evening’s bizarre detritus as clues to piece together their wild experiences so they can find the missing groom) is neat, though not as cleverly executed as it could be. The humour is straightforward, perhaps best exemplified by an Asian guy saying “motherfucker” in a silly high-pitched voice — and yeah, I did laugh at that.

It’s easy, decidedly uncomplicated viewing.

3 out of 5

For more quick reviews like this, look here.

Horns (2013)

2015 #173
Alexandre Aja | 120 mins | streaming (HD) | 2.35:1 | USA & Canada / English | 15* / R

Did Daniel Radcliffe murder his girlfriend? Sprouting devilish horns doesn’t help his case…

Ostensibly a fantasy-horror murder-mystery, in execution Horns is mostly black comedy: the horns force people to tell the truth, to amusing effect. The mystery is so-so: it’s glaringly obvious whodunnit… though, ironically, one reason it’s obvious is ultimately inaccurate. Oops.

It goes wrong in the overblown climax. It’s like someone didn’t know how to conclude the story so went all-out Fantasy. It would’ve been stronger to stay grounded, stick with the characters’ emotions, rather than getting sidetracked into a profusion of effects.

Still, fun while it lasts.

4 out of 5

This drabble review is part of the 100 Films Advent Calendar 2015. Read more here.

* Horns was cut to get that 15 — details here. It’s available uncut, rated 18, on Blu-ray (but not DVD). Unusually, it’s the edited version that’s on Netflix UK. ^