FilmReview

Review: Daniel Radcliffe Gives His Best Performance To Date In ‘Horns’

Adam Reynoso ’15 / Emertainment Monthly Staff Writer

Daniel Radcliffe and Juno Temple in Horns. Photo Credit: Doane Gregory/Radius-TWC.
Daniel Radcliffe and Juno Temple in Horns. Photo Credit: Doane Gregory/Radius-TWC.

Horns has a premise that hasn’t really been widely seen before. Because of this, the film stands out for originality, as well as having fun with genre. The film succeeds in blending a few genres, as well as really having fleshed out characters, as well as an admirable arc for Daniel Radcliffe‘s character Ig. With all of these factors added together, the film works to make a horror film that has the longevity to continue on as a classic.

The premise is simple enough. Ig is blamed for the murder of his girlfriend, Merrin (Juno Temple), after she’s found dead and he’s the last person seen with her. Later on, he awakes with horns growing from his head and finds that people are confessing their sins to him, as well as listening to his suggestions for them.

Daniel Radcliffe in Horns. Photo Credit: Doane Gregory/Radius-TWC.
Daniel Radcliffe in Horns. Photo Credit: Doane Gregory/Radius-TWC.

One of the highlights of the film is seeing Radcliffe in a very different role than most know him for and really owning it. Playing Ig requires a lot of work, and part of the story is trying to figure out if he’s at all responsible for the murder of his girlfriend. He starts off as a person full of regret and hate and even thinks that it’s possible he could’ve done it. But with the appearance of the horns, it allows him to find out what really happened to Merrin. The advertisements aren’t lying about the film and Radcliffe could very well be at the best in his acting career in this role. Seeing him finally embrace the horns and realize he can see what happened to Merrin is the crux of the film. It’s truly about his journey to accept his horns and use that side of him to get justice.

The film flashes back to when Ig and Merrin first met as children, as well as showing their happiness together as adults. In this case, the flashbacks really serve to give context to the main character’s relationship and show growth. These scenes really helped add depth to each character, as well as building the relationship between Ig’s older brother, Terry (Joe Anderson), and everyone else. It helped the audience care about who the characters were in the film, something most films forget about in the genre.

Max Minghella and Daniel Radcliffe in Horns. Photo Credit: Doane Gregory/Radius-TWC.
Max Minghella and Daniel Radcliffe in Horns. Photo Credit: Doane Gregory/Radius-TWC.

But what really works is the fact that it isn’t just a straight-up horror film. Horns is just as much a mystery and black comedy as horror. The film brings out the brutally honest opinions of parents and ministers that are both comedic and very dark. But that’s what the film’s about: embracing the side of humanity that might be seen as dark and evil and using it for the right thing.

The hardest thing to watch is the way the town treats Ig. Everyone believes he killed Merrin, even his parents, sadly. It’s something that hurts and is discouraging, but it also pushes the character to find what really happened. Ig even admits that if he did it, he’s the monster they say he is. It’s a powerful motivation and really moves the film along.

Horns yet again proves director Alexandre Aja‘s skill in the horror in the genre and offers Daniel Radcliffe’s best performance to date. It has the characters that drive the story and has the audience trying to figure out who the killer is. While the horns motifs and symbolism might be a little much, it doesn’t affect the power of the film.

Overall Grade: B+

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