In Radcliffe’s latest efforts to distance himself from the Potter boy wizard, he turns into the Devil himself in fantasy-horror, Horns, directed by Alexandre Aja and based on the novel by Joe Hill.
In Horns, we open on Ig Parrish (Daniel Radcliffe) and his girlfriend Merrin Williams (Juno Temple- Maleficent, Killer Joe) canoodling within the forest in their own private tree-house hideaway. Ig and Merrin are childhood sweethearts who fell in love as kids and have the sort of deep romance that most of us dream for.
After a marriage proposal that didn’t go as planned, Ig wakes up in a hung-over slump to find his world shattered. Merrin has been murdered and Ig is the primary suspect, with his whole hometown convinced of his guilt. As the investigation continues, things take a supernatural turn when Ig wakes up to discover two horns protruding from his forehead.
As Ig makes his way around town, seeking help for his horny situation and investigating Merrin’s death, it soon becomes apparent that the horns have a power over anyone he’s talking to. While good people seemingly do not notice the horns, including his lifelong friend and lawyer Lee Tourneau (Max Minghella- The Social Network), those who view them are powerless to stop themselves from confessing their deepest sins and darkest desires to him. They also become highly open to suggestion that Ig starts to use his powerful horns to his advantage, and uncover the truth about what happened to Merrin.
Horns sets itself up as both a murder mystery and relationship autopsy as Iggy’s past emerges through flashbacks and dreams of his younger friendships and relationships. There is a weird mix of violence and humor as Ig’s power leads to bizarre interactions with the townsfolk that become slightly silly at times, and not particularly entertaining.
As Parish, Radcliffe does an acceptable job as leading man. However, something always feels off about his performance. Radcliffe is too talented to suck, but he’s definitely been better. Heather Graham shows up in a small but pivotal role, and Max Minghella as Lee seems determined to clear his friends name, giving Minghella a very active and personal involvement in what happens.
I wish Horns would’ve been better than it was. However, the material is pretty challenging so it probably would’ve been impossible to make something any better. Aja did a decent enough job but plenty of the movies effective ideas thin over the course of its protracted two hours. If fantasy is your thing this may be one for you, but fans of real suspense, gore or scares may wish to give this one a miss.
WICKED RATING: 5.5/10
Director: Alexandre Aja
Writer(s): Keith Bunin (screenplay), Joe Hill (novel)
Stars: Daniel Radcliffe, Juno Temple, Max Minghella
Studio/ Production Co: Red Granite Pictures, Mandalay Pictures
Sub-Genre: Drama, Fantasy