Radcliffe Gives Stellar Performance In Genre Confusing “Horns”

By Scott Kurland
Film: Horns
Starring: Daniel Radcliffe, Joe Anderson, David Morse, Heather Graham, Max Minghella, and Juno Temple
Rated R
Director: Alexandre Aja

Getting a lead in a franchise film is a huge deal for any actor. However, there is a stigma that comes with it. Mark Hamill will be Luke Skywalker until he dies. He never really had a live action role that was bigger than Skywalker. Linda Carter will always be Wonder Woman...and that infomercial lady back in 1991. My point is Daniel Radcliffe a.k.a Harry Potter could have suffered that fate. Yet, luckily he hasn’t been settling for the same roles. Instead he’s been going to Broadway, making romantic comedies, and now stepping in to the supernatural with this weeks film “Horns”. Yet, is this a film Radcliffe should be boasting about? Let’s find out.
“Horns” is the tale of Ignacius  “Ig” Perrish (Daniel Radcliffe) a wallflower radio DJ who has it all. He’s got good friends (Max Minghella), a musician brother (Joe Anderson), and the most beautiful girl (Juno Temple) is in love with him. Yet when that girl ends up dead, Ig is the prime suspect and slowly becomes the town’s Pariah. Knowing he’s innocent Ig will do anything to clear his name and find the real killer, anything including selling his soul. Ig wakes up one morning with horns upon his head and the entire town appears to divulge their sins whenever Ig is around. Maybe with his new found “Horns” he will find his girlfriend’s killer and be at peace.
The movie as a whole is a mess it’s not sure if it’s a comedy, drama, horror film, or psychological thriller. Yet, the performances from Radcliffe, Temple, and Morse are very impressive. Even when some of the actors like Heather Graham are mugging to the camera they still deliver a hell of a performance. Yet, the real impressive work here is done by Radcliffe using a very convincing American Washington State accent. Radcliffe is truly effective because he’s caught in the middle of this three ring circus as chaos unfolds around him. Watching Radcliffe this year in “What If...” and now “Horns” proves what a talented actor he is. He can handle romance, he can handle fantasy, and he can handle this mixed genre confused film. What I love about Ig is Radcliffe never makes him turn evil with these new horns. In any other film we’d see pure Hell take over and murders unfold. No, Radcliffe’s Ig is just and humane. Radcliffe is absolutely stellar here.
Honestly as good as the supporting roles are the real thing to talk about is the perplexing film itself. I really wanted to like this film I’m still trying to like it considering I’m still thinking about it days later. Yet, the tone is such a turn off. It’s suppose to be a horror film, but it’s not very scary. It’s suppose to be a psychological who dun nit thriller, but we figure out the twist right away...well maybe half way through. It’s supposes to be a dark film, but the way people express their sins is so comical. The film has no idea what it is, and it’s quite puzzling. 
The cinematography is gorgeous and that’s because it’s shot by Frederick Elmes a living legend who has shot “Blue Velvet”, “The Ice Storm”, and Jim Jarmusch’s “Broken Flowers”. While watching the film I did think of “Blue Velvet”, yes the look is similar and the colors have matching patterns, but Elmes’ cinematography really paints the picture. This is the first time this year I was taken by the cinematography and it so happens to be shot by one of the pioneers of independent film photography. Elmes’ look and style is a delight to watch as it visually tells the story.
My main problem is the direction from Alexandre Aja. A man who made the awful “Piranha 3D” and the epic French thriller “High Tension” so why is “Horns” so confusing. I feel like he took the B movie cheese factor of “Piranha 3D” to start, but half way through wanted to return to his “High Tension” roots. Because the last 45 minutes reminded me of “High Tension”. Actually the last ninety minutes reminded me of that. The first thirty minutes was just tonally confused, and didn’t really blossom from the get go. However, the film got better as it continued.
“Horns” is a confusing perplexing film, and even though it was hard for me to get into it and discover the tone or feel of the film, I still loved the performances. Radcliffe is especially genius as Ig and alone is worth the price of rental. That’s another thing, “Horns” was released in theaters the same day as VOD. Honestly I think you all should check this out on Video OnDemand rental, don’t pay twenty bucks to see it on the big screen, when you can watch it for seven dollars at home. “Horns” gets a slight recommendation from me. It has a beautiful look, a great cast, and a really good soundtrack featuring David Bowie. 

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