Joe Hill is one of the best horror and fantasy writers currently around, and if you haven’t done so already then we’d highly recommend getting hold of and reading his supernatural horror/romance novel Horns, the film adaptation of which premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival this week. Despite what this particular mix of genres might suggest, Horns is a long way from resembling Twilight or any of the similar supernatural romance stories out there, mainly because the love of protagonist Ig Perrish’s life is already dead and buried by the time the story begins.
Playing the role of Ig is Harry Potter star Daniel Radcliffe, who has been working hard to shed his former child star status with a string of radically different projects like The Woman in Black and Kill Your Darlings. Radcliffe has so far been a little bit hit and miss as an actor, and is an acquired taste for some, but the first clip of him in Horns shows signs of a strong portrayal of the desperate and hopeless Ig Perrish.
Ig is a character of repeated and tragic misfortune. He comes from a family of musicians, but despite his own musical talent Ig’s severe asthma prevents him from actually being able to play the horns like his famous father and brother. His girlfriend and one true love, Merrin Williams (Juno Temple) is brutally raped and murdered, and everyone in Ig’s home town (including his own family) becomes convinced that he was the culprit. On the first anniversary of Merrin’s death, Ig wakes up to find that he has grown a pair of bony, sensitive horns on his head that compel everyone he meets to say and do the absolute worst things on their mind.
The unfriendly man with a gun whom Ig is confronting in the clip is most likely Dale Williams, Merrin’s father, who like everyone else is convinced that Ig raped and murdered his daughter. Though Ig develops very devilish powers that extend to being able to influence people’s minds, he’s not capable of convincing anyone to carry out good actions, only harmful ones. His influence also means that although people can see his horns, they don’t ever become alarmed or consider the appendages to be out of the ordinary, even when he goes to be examined by a doctor.
Director Alexandre Aja (Haute Tension) had some challenging material to handle with Horns, which walks a bold line between tragedy and comedy and paints a very dark portrayal of human nature alongside its flawed but touching love story. Because of the potential in the source material, this was one of Screen Rant’s most highly-anticipated horror movies of 2013; with positive reviews already coming out after its screening at TIFF, Horns remains a movie that looks worth seeing in theaters.
If you’ve read Horns or other works by Joe Hill, such as the “Locke and Key” comics, do you think Aja is the right director to bring Hill’s imagination to life on the big screen? For those who are completely unfamiliar with the source material, tell us in the comments if you find the concept of Horns intriguing or off-puttingly weird.
Horns has not yet been acquired for US distribution, but is expected to receive a theatrical release some time in 2014.