Poor Ig Perrish. His longtime sweetheart Merrin gets murdered, and he’s the main suspect. Adding insult to injury, Ig awakes one morning with devilish horns sprouting from his forehead. Plus, this new appearance casts a spell upon anyone who talks to him. They can’t help telling him the truth about their actions and nasty feelings. Ig soon figures out this might help him find the real culprit, but secrets and betrayals that rock his world come to light while he searches for the truth. An interesting idea for a horror movie, right? Um, maybe. Unfortunately, this film has unleashed my own truthiness (with apologies to Stephen Colbert for stealing his word), so I have to reveal my bad thoughts about it.
I get no pleasure from doing so, for Radcliffe’s past performances as Harry Potter have delighted me -- and I love watching clips of his work in the Broadway musical How To Succeed in Business without Really Trying. This guy can move! He’s a very talented actor and performer. However, Radcliffe’s portrayal of Ig Perrish lacks his usual charisma and likeability. I realize Horns is a horror fantasy, but that’s why those two characteristics are so important. With such a bizarre concept, we need a main character we care about, and -- innocent or not; with or without horns -- Ig doesn’t come across as someone we want to cheer on.
Based on the novel by Joe Hill (Stephen King’s son), directed by Alexandre Aja (High Tension) from a screenplay by Keith Bunin (TV’s In Treatment), Horns called on gifted behind-the-scenes people -- with uneven results. Although starting with a titillating concept and intriguing opening scenes, the story then goes downhill into almost comical territory, and those silly looking horns don’t help. The mystery of who killed Merrin (Juno Temple from Maleficent, so lovely in this key role) isn’t handled well, especially the way it’s rushed to conclusion.
Among the supporting cast, Joe Anderson (The Crazies), Max Minghella (The Ides of March), and Heather Graham (Hope Springs) portray Ig’s brother, best friend and a local waitress, respectively. Any one of them could be the real murderer -- if Ig didn’t do it, of course. And it’s important to mention David Morse (Disturbia), who stands out as Merrin's grieving father in a couple of brief scenes.
Although not a totally bad horror fantasy, Horns may disappoint many Daniel Radcliffe fans.
(Released by Radius – TWA and rated “R” for sexual content, some graphic nudity, disturbing violence including a sexual assault, language and drug use.)
For more information about Horns, go to the IMDb or Rotten Tomatoes website.