Ig Parish (Daniel Radcliffe) is a somewhat lost guy who has just one thing in life which is worth living for which is Merrin Williams (Juno Temple), the love of his life. The two are in harmony with each other until one day Merrin is murdered and Ig is accused of the murder. He gets a bail thanks to his friend and attorney Lee (Max Minghella) who also happens to be the lone person who believes that Ig is innocent. The whole community starts lamenting Ig including his to be father in law whose words hurt him so much that he ends up drunk and abusing the almighty on fateful night.
The following day he wakes up to find two horns protruding out of his temple. As he tries to get rid of his new found appendages, he realizes that whoever comes in contact with the horns apparently speaks out his or her mind in front of him with no hesitation. Ig soon realizes that the mysterious power which the horns have brought along with it also allows him to persuade people to do things that he asks of them. The horns might be the only way for him to find out who killed the love of his life and avenge her. As the story progresses, Ig finds himself unearthing facts not only about himself but also about the love of his life who might not have been as madly in love with him as he took her to be.
The film has an interesting premise which keeps you guessing right till the end. The story has many characters and each of them seem to be a suspect until the actual killer is revealed. The fact that we are unable to guess the killer unlike most other thrillers makes Horns an interesting viewing experience. The film also offers a lot of content in terms of tender romance which keeps popping up in between the investigations through a series of flashbacks. These sequences help us get a foothold in the past of the characters and also make us care for them. The romance is also rendered real and Ig’s loss more dramatic because of the bond the couple is shown to share.
Daniel Radcliffe is finally coming off age. It was almost impossible to imagine him as anything else post Harry Potter. However here he plays a character who is a confused and dazed adult trying to find the murderer of his girlfriend and also dealing with a strange pair of appendages which he cannot explain himself. He acts well enough to give a realistic feel to the character and nearly takes us out of the harry Potter hangover. He truly excels in the romantic scenes. Juno Temple looks ravishingly beautiful in a dreamy role which not only suits her well but also lets her spread her wings. She is shown as a serene and almost angel-like creature who is not only dedicated for life with Ig but also someone who can be cruel to the extent of breaking the heart of the same man with little remorse. Ditto can be said about the girl who is playing her younger self. Max Minghella as his friend and the only person who cannot see his horns is apt.
The film boasts of some good special effects. The sequences towards the end light up because of the special effects that are put out. The scene where Ig is almost burned down and comes back to visit his to be father in law is sure to make you stand up and take notice. I was also impressed by the CGI snakes that look shockingly real. Alexandre Aja has over the years meted out some scintillating horror films like Hills Have Eyes and Mirrors. I even liked P2 which I felt was a good concept. Here he tries to make inroads into a new genre which may be labeled as comedy-romance-mystery-horror. How far he is successful will be a difficult call to make as different audiences are bound to look at it from different perspective and chances are most of them might not get their wishes fulfilled as the film works only as a package of the different elements that it holds. So while some will like the comedy and want it to continue, the others on the other hand will want to see more of the romance while some other will want to get their hands dirty with the action and horror sequences.
Overall, Horns was a satisfying experience for me. I loved the pacing of the film. The romance and sensuality depicted is done with subtlety and care which works wonderfully well for the film. The special effects and the horned avatar of Radcliffe worked for me but that might not be the case for many. Alexandre Aja has been successful in creating an interesting film which demands to be seen at least once.