Daniel Radcliffe plays Ig Perrish, who, in the aftermath of his girlfriend Merrin’s (Juno Temple) mysterious death, finds himself the prime suspect, facing a backlash from the public, press and law enforcement as he struggles to resume a life of normality. It doesn’t help that he also has horns sprouting from his temples. As a result, people sub-consciously start displaying the dark side to their demeanour in his presence, as he uses this opportunity to try and find out exactly what happened to the love of his life.
Evidently vying for cult status, Aja is somewhat transparent in his attempt, and a little contrived in the process. It’s a shame because when Horns focuses more predominantly on the intimacy and the relationship between Ig and Merrin, it becomes a far more engaging piece, and it’s the more surreal, mythological aspects that prove to be the film’s greatest detriment. Nonetheless, Aja must be commended for making a somewhat unique feature that is unable to be pigeonholed. Seamlessly drifting across genres, you could label Horns as a drama, a romance, a murder mystery, a thriller, a comedy or a fantasy – and you’d be right every single time.
There’s an empowering sense of omniscience in this title too, as the viewer is, unlike everybody else, completely aware of Ig’s innocence. There’s no ambiguity on the matter which is an important addition, as it allows for us to sympathise and root for our protagonist, while we chase for evidence and facts just as fervently he does. Radcliffe excels in the role, playing it with such conviction. At times he is guilty of overdoing it somewhat in that department, but given the surrealistic nature of the narrative, he is given a the license to go that extra mile. There’s a lot of swearing to be heard from too… McGonagall would not be happy.
There is no doubting the potential that lies in this layered premise, though perhaps it hasn’t quite got the legs for a feature length movie. With what can only be described as a Twin Peaks-esque concept, perhaps, much like the famed David Lynch production, this would find more of a home on the smaller screen too.