Daniel Radcliffe takes another unexpected turn, transforming from iconic boy wizard Harry Potter to a man-turned-devil in Horns, Alexandre Aja’s adaptation of Joe Hill’s fantasy novel. Falsely accused of murdering his sweetheart Merrin (Juno Temple), Ig (Radcliffe) is outlawed by his fellow townspeople. After a night of drinking, he wakes up with two horns – a bizarre development that holds the key to finding Merrin’s real killer. Radcliffe proves to be Horns’ beating heart. He delivers a performance that’s wickedly playful, yet unfortunately limited by Aja’s need to cover a myriad of bases – from horror to romance. Flashbacks to Ig’s are long and drawn-out, ultimately detracting from the film’s brief moments of ingenuity – especially Ig’s coming to terms with his supernatural abilities, or the blistering finale. There’s a neat old-fashioned, darkened quality to the film, and even the CGI of the horns is handled decently. But the script all too often trails in Radcliffe’s shadows, too anomalous to capture our full attention.
A longer version of this review was first posted on CineVue.