“No one is born evil; the Devil itself is fallen angel,” said Ig Perrish.
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It’s not how Daniel Radcliffe keeps making surprising role picks in his post-Harry Potter career; it’s how he really struggles to “strip off” his Hogwarts attire and become a real actor. His Rated-R acting as young Allen Ginsberg in the Beat Generation drama, Kill Your Darlings, barely liberates him from Hogwarts; yet, it’s his decision to come back to fantasy genre in Horns that counts. In collaboration with director Alexandre Aja (the man that brought you roller coaster terror in Haute Tension and Piranha 3D) upon the adaptation of a novel by Joe Hill (son of Stephen King), Radcliffe convincingly performs his post-Harry Potter clean slate.
Given the reputation of Aja and Radcliffe, it’s quite surprising that Horns ends up being a romance-thriller that somehow reminds me to Asian romance-horror premise. Radcliffe plays Ignatius “Ig/Iggy” Perrish, a young man accused for murdering his girlfriend (Juno Temple). As he’s resented by his neighborhood and local media; he finds out something more whimsical than people’s allegations towards him—he realizes that devilish horns grow out of his head. Strange but true, the horns mystically gives him powers to manipulate others upon their darkest side. Knowing his ‘bless-or-curse’ ability, Ig seeks for the truth about his girlfriend’s death.
Notwithstanding all anti-hero qualities in the movie and all revenge-thriller formulas, Horns is a practically romantic drama wraps in a finding-the-true-murderer story. The supernatural whodunit in Horns devices horns-assisted flashbacks that I feel it a beat of cliché; I can smell the twist in the end during half of Ig going from one’s POV to others’ POV. You strip off the horns and all the effect, then goes thin is the plot. Only the fact that this movies bear a lot of biblical metaphor posing as enigmatic symbolism save my craving in finishing this movie.
Radcliffe’s portrayal of misdirected Ig is cool—maybe the coolest since he left Hogwarts; and Aja’s direction is, no doubt, working as a mood roller coaster. The thing is, the plot is not as original as the ‘horns’ premise—the script cannot manifest what the real meaning of ‘horns’ in this movie—making it a dry, banal attempt to resurface the premise upon all. At least, both Radcliffe and Aja make great escapes from their ‘usuals’ in Horns.
Drama, Fantasy Directed by: Alexandre Aja Written by: Keith Bunin based on novel by Joe Hill Starred by: Daniel Radcliffe, Juno Temple, Max Minghella, David Morse Running Time: 120 mins Rated R for sexual content, some graphic nudity, disturbing violence including a sexual assault, language and drug use | IMDb