Daniel Radcliffe has taken an interesting turn with his acting career since starring as the broom-riding wizard in the terrific Harry Potter series. Not as an insult, but it seems like he has taken the mind-set that he has made all the money he needs to make, and now simply wants to focus on whatever he feels like interested enough in doing. I like that approach, and while I didn’t necessarily enjoy The Woman in Black, I found a lot to like about Kill Your Darlings. This next film in his resume is even more out-there and bizarre, but regardless of the mixed-to-negative reviews, I say that it’s also the best of the bunch for his post-Potter career.
Horns is a 2013 American-Canadian dark fantasy comedy thriller film directed by Alexandre Aja (Piranha 3D, The Hills Have Eyes, and Mirrors) and loosely based on the Joe Hill‘s novel of the same name. In the film, Daniel Radcliffe takes the role of a man named Ig Parrish who is accused of raping and murdering his girlfriend, played by Juno Temple. Innocent or not, Parrish soon discovers a pair of horns sprouting out his temples and begins discovering paranormal abilities that he uses to work at uncovering the actual killer.
I was excited about this film. If there were two films at all that I was excited about in 2014, those films were Birdman and Nightcrawler, but Horns was definitely a close third. The originality of the film can definitely be seen from the premise alone, but nevertheless, there’s also a remarkable amount of originality to be discovered as the film continues to progress. The comedy to be found in this film isn’t the type to have somebody busting up with laughter but the sort of black humor that will have you smirking or amused on occasion. Daniel’s performance in the lead role is terrific and acts as a key element in holding the narrative together. Everybody else has their own chops as well, and while nobody completely excels above and beyond, the film’s acting should definitely be considered as a highlight.
The script and storyline itself offer unique perspectives and ideas, albeit perhaps inconsistent in their themes, but the sheer peculiarity of the spectacle alone almost has me overlooking it. The film never has a completely clear path, but the directorial efforts and sensibilities usually have it together long enough to forget about the absolute worst of times. The subtlety behind the horns and the symbolism throughout aren’t exactly difficult to figure out from the offset. In-fact, if you’re attentive, at times it seems a little overbearing and redundant with it’s imagery, but the fact that they stuck with it and pulled it off and didn’t do anything to weaken itself is admirable. I’d much rather watch a somewhat predictable film that’s well-made than a random one that’s comes off horribly. Albeit, not everything with Horns is predictable, but the metaphors and symbolism might seem like it’s thrown in your face a tad.
By the end of it all though, I liked Horns. I understand where a lot of critics are coming from when it comes to the disproportionate tonal elements, and fancy sounding words like that, but at the same time, I feel like there’s something to be said about a film that I can watch and not want to rip my eyes out while doing so. You’ll find over-the-top imagery and dark charm hiding around every corner, and for the originality and uniqueness of it all, the character development and depth often heightened by the lead’s contribution, as well as spectacle, I found it to be an entertaining movie. Some aspects could have been done better here and there, and some elements that were already good could have been strengthened to become great, but all the same, Horns is a good movie.