From Alexandre Aja (The Hills Have Eyes, Piranha 3D) comes this adaptation of the novel by Joe Hill. After his girlfriend Merrin Williams (Juno Temple) is found dead, Ig Perrish (Daniel Radcliffe) finds himself the number one suspect in her murder and he’s shunned by practically the entire community, with exception of his brother Terry (Joe Anderson) and friend and lawyer Lee Tourneau (Max Minghella). One day, Ig wakes up to find that demonic horns have begun growing from his head. He also discovers that people are compelled to tell Ig their innermost thoughts and that he has the power to influence their actions. Using these abilities, Ig decides to go around town and figure out who truly was the one to kill his girlfriend.
Horns continues Daniel Radcliffe’s very interesting career trajectory, following the completion of the Harry Potter franchise. Horns is probably Radcliffe’s darkest film to date and it’s the first major film adaptation from author Joe Hill, who is better known as the son of Stephen King. Having not read the original novel, I am not sure what kind of tone is present in the original story. However, this film adaptation is somewhat inconsistent in that regard, since it seems to move back and forth between being a horror film and a dark comedy.
At it’s core, Horns is a pretty dark story, with a guy waking up one day to find out that he is essentially turning into a demon. However, Alexandre Aja opts to play the situation Ig finds himself in more for laughs than scares. Everyone that Ig comes into contact with feels compelled to tell him their darkest and secret desires, which often comes off as really campy in the film. This really begins to clash with the story, especially as Ig steadily becomes a much darker individual as he comes closer to discovering who killed Merrin.
Horns relies heavily on flashbacks to give the backstory of Ig and Merrin’s relationship and piece together the events that lead to Merrin’s death. Even though the film does attempt to throw some red herrings, I was able to figure out who Merrin’s killer was, long before the individual was even considered as a suspect. I’m not sure if the directing or storytelling is to blame, but I did not really experience much from the mystery aspect of the film.
Even though there are a few things that Horns has going against it, Daniel Radcliffe’s performance is not one of them. While it is a bit weird seeing him speaking in an American accent, his character is quite consistent throughout the entire film. Reduced entirely to appearing in the film’s flashbacks, it’s a shame that the film did not feature more of Juno Temple, since she was the supporting cast member that stood out the most, save for perhaps David Morse’s brief role as Merrin’s father.
I wouldn’t exactly call Horns a disappointment, but it really wasn’t exactly the film I was expecting. While I thought that the film was fine enough, it was also very inconsistent in its tone, which ended up being a bit of detriment.7 | FAIR