The new movie Horns is based on the novel of the same name by Joe Hill. Given that Joe Hill is the son of Stephen King, it is no surprise that Horns – both the book and the film – is a difficult to classify mixture of genre and tone. Horns effortlessly straddles the line between murder mystery and horror tale while also being a unique blend of romance and satire. Director Alexandre Aja manages to successfully translate the story to the screen by never allowing the movie to take itself too seriously.
Horns is the story of Ignatius Perrish. Played by the always delightful Daniel Radcliffe, Ig is in the midst of a personal crisis. His entire hometown believes that he has gotten away with the murder of his longtime girlfriend. Everywhere he turns, Ig finds that people are turning on him – both friends and family. Until one day, Ignatius wakes up to find that he has begun to grow horns.
The horns are the physical manifestation of the shame and guilt heaped on his soul by both himself and society at large. But Ig is about to discover that the horns also come with a “gift.” Whenever he is physical proximity to people, something happens that forces those individuals to tell Ig their most secret thoughts and impulses. At first, Ig can’t understand why the woman at the doctor’s office is telling him that she hates her child or why the doctor himself confesses to an OxyContin addiction, but it isn’t long before Ig realizes he can use this newfound power to figure out who really killed Merrin.
Daniel Radcliffe once again proves himself to be one of the most versatile actors of his generation. He plays Ig with just the right mixture of adorableness and gravitas. The murder mystery itself is far from complex, but the emotions that underlie the relationship between Ig and Marin always ring true. Since the unveiling of the true murderer is not going to come as a huge shock to most viewers, it is nice that the other mysteries of what happened that tragic evening do pay off their rewards in unexpected ways.
Horns will have an uphill battle when it comes to finding an audience. While the mixture of diverse genres is unique and appealing to some, it will also cause confusion for others. The movie which has a true star-crossed romance at its core also has one of the most disturbing (and graphic) secondary character deaths in its climactic scene. Don’t let that disparity in style and tone keep you away from this movie. Horns is an enjoyable film and is in theater now and available on-demand.