“Love hurts like hell.” That’s one tagline of Alexandre Aja’s latest flick HORNS. If it wasn’t so true I might have laughed off a lot of this adaptation of Joe Hill’s novel- which I have not read. In fact, much of HORNS feels like a huge departure from Aja’s sensibilities- though he did toy with some cheesy comedy in PIRANHA 3D. However, this Daniel Radcliffe headliner flirts with a little bit of everything from black comedy all the way to tragic romance. The unfortunate thing being that Aja’s film does not excel at any of the genres it touches.
The film begins with Ig (Radcliffe) and Merrin (Juno Temple) a couple obviously in love. Almost instantly things are literally flipped upside down as we find Ig in the throes of depression with an empty bottle of liquor next to him. As he heads outside he’s greeted by press asking him what it’s like to get away with murder and protestors saying he should burn in Hell. As it turns out Merrin has been murdered and everyone with the exception of Ig’s brother Terry (Joe Anderson) and best friend/lawyer Lee (Max Minghella) thinks he did it. With everyone painting him as a devil Ig awakes from a drunken fling with horns growing out of his head. The image is enough to spook just about any man except that no one seems to be thrown off by the phenomenon. To make things weirder people keep confessing their darkest desires to him as if part of regular conversation. Ig starts to use the power to his advantage in efforts to dig up the truth behind what happened to Merrin.