Disappointing supernatural whodunit starring Daniel Radcliffe and Juno Temple
As part of his continued quest to break free of his Harry Potter role, Daniel Radcliffe turns to the dark side in director Alexandre Aja and screenwriter Keith Bunin's adaptation of the horror novel by Joe Hill (son of Stephen King). Geared towards the teen market, this often mawkish whodunit charts Ig Perrish’s downward spiral following the rape and murder of his girlfriend Merrin Williams (Juno Temple) and his attempt to solve the case in order to clear his name.
When Ig (Radcliffe) sprouts horns in a self-fulfilling prophecy of sorts, people begin to confess their darkest thoughts and secrets to him in a weird What Women Want kind of way. Ig doesn’t know how to control his newfound power, which helps him in his search for the truth but also results in affronts from his nearest and dearest.
Essentially Horns is a film about loss and how people react when faced with their greatest fears. Ig loses his first love and as a result begins to question his religion. Unfortunately Aja neglects to explore this crisis of faith and instead overstuffs the narrative with too many strands and characters, so he can go wild with the special effects. This also means the characters are thinly drawn and the players become ugly caricatures whose motives are difficult to understand. Aja employs flashback sequences throughout, revealing clues and attempting to shade in back-story, nevertheless it’s all very undercooked, resulting in little sympathy for anyone in this tale of vengeance, devilry and woe.
A modicum of fun and black humour comes with the appearance of Heather Graham – relishing the chance to be completely evil as a vain, fame-hungry waitress – and it’s good to see that Radcliffe still possesses the gift of parseltongue, but ultimately this teen horror lacks any real hiss or bite.
General release from Wed 29 Oct.