Daniel Radcliffe is a man of many talents. He made a name for himself playing the child wizard Harry Potter and since then, he has picked a number of roles that showcase his impressive range as an actor. Films like The Woman in Black, Kill Your Darlings and this year’s What If are all excellent examples of this. But audiences will certainly shed the last bit of Hogwarts from their memory with Radcliffe’s latest acting challenge, the quirky horror comedy Horns. It is a strong departure for the young actor and has been released just in time for Halloween.
Ig Perrish (Radcliffe) is a typical young fellow. He is hopelessly in love with his girlfriend Merrin (Juno Temple) and they enjoy some romantic bliss in the beginning of the film. Unfortunately, their union is interrupted when Merrin is found dead. The town soon suspects Ig of murder and this creates a media and social hailstorm. With this dark cloud following him wherever he goes, Ig must attempt to survive in his small town. One morning however, he wakes up with something protruding out of his forehead. He inexplicably starts growing horns! And with these horns, comes a supernatural power: persuading people to do whatever Ig says. The film then follows Ig as he tries to make sense of his newly acquired horns and power.
Based on Joe Hill’s (Pop Art, Locke & Key) novel of the same name, Horns is a modern-day tragedy with many dark comedic moments. Radcliffe was an interesting choice for the main role and his youthful innocence is counterbalanced beautifully by the very macabre nature of the story. If there is one movie that showcases the man’s excellent acting chops, this is it. He is absolutely mesmerizing.
Few films these days manage to capture the bizarre spirit of the supernatural comedy. In order to properly do this, you need a script that is so smart and so funny that the ridiculousness of the story is overpowered by the brilliance of the dialogue. Keith Bunin (In Treatment) does just this and his words flow beautifully when uttered by Radcliffe and the rest of the talented cast.
Director Alexandre Aja (The Hills Have Eyes, Mirrors, High Tension) has taken Joe Hill’s very unusual story and put it to screen exceptionally well. The manner in which he frames the actors and the action takes on a life of its own and the results are really quite lovely especially during some flashback sequences. The premise of Horns is ludicrous but Aja’s tight direction adds a certain level of authenticity to the proceedings.
There aren’t too many good horror comedies out there these days and that’s quite a shame. Instead, big studios re-release mindless torture porn like Saw just to make a quick buck come Halloween time. Horns is the exception. It is a real rarity and a welcome Halloween treat. The film will most likely gain a cult following and has already gained significant buzz due to the impressive Daniel Radcliffe and his stellar performance. Do yourselves a favor and see this wonderfully dark tale.