Horns is the latest film to star Daniel Radcliffe and what a role he plays! Emotionally torn Ig Perrish becomes the prime suspect when he loses his girlfriend Merrin (Juno Temple) to a violent murder. Family and friends seem initially supportive, until he starts to grow a pair of horns which come with a dark power. Suddenly, people can’t resist unloading their deepest, darkest urges around him. It’s Hell on Earth. Even worse, they’re just waiting on his permission to give into those dark urges and carry them out. And so Ig begins a painful journey to find out who really killed his girlfriend, no matter what dark truths he discovers about those around him.
Daniel is superb in this movie, though it’s downright jarring to hear him speak with an American accent. Your mileage may vary but it took me a while to stop expecting his lovely British tones, even though his accent never wavers. It’s a great example of a Brit really getting into an American role. The supporting cast are fabulous too, with each one rushing to confess to Ig with doll-like submission. The beginning of the movie is underpinned by a sly humour not unlike what you’ll find in Dogma, and many of the early confessions are in turn unsettling and funny to watch. Over time, though, the story unfolds through increasingly dark flashbacks… and, as Ig’s quest for the truth continues, he continues to unlock further unwanted demon-like powers.
There are some issues with the story. Like… why is everyone so convinced that Ig killed his girlfriend? He has a fight with her on the night that she’s killed but I’m surprised at the sheer force and conviction that some people have in his guilt, particularly his family. Another issue is that Merrin’s demise gives the viewer a front row seat of her rape and subsequent murder. It carries a hefty trigger warning so, for those who want to watch the film but not this particular scene, I’d advise waiting until the DVD release.
Horns is an impressive story that plays with the idea of revenge and redemption. Ig wants vengeance and is more than happy to continue using the powers without focusing on what he might be risking as he does. Those around him seem almost entirely casual about the appearance of his horns and Ig soon grows used to hearing people’s dark confessions.
Merrin – great acting, Manic Pixie Dream Girl character
In its own way, the film is almost domineering in how many awful things it makes you see, presenting you with the darkness of every single character, Ig included. Merrin is something of a disappointment, being presented as an archetypal beautiful and unearthly girlfriend. Manic Pixie Dream Girl alert! It’s no fault of actress Juno Temple – I would have liked the script to have spent more time filling her out character more fully, though. She is the one untarnished person in this whole film but it’s obviously a writing choice; she would have had darkness in her too, had she been alive when Ig grew his horns.
As a tale of one man’s quest for revenge, Horns does a better job than I would have expected. Much of this is carried by the talent of Radcliffe, who really is fantastic in this role. Dark and grim with a bizarre splash of gallows humour, check out Horns whilst it’s still in cinemas.
Buy ‘Horns’, the original book by Joe Hill