When a young man (Radcliffe) wakes up to find his girlfriend (Temple) has been murdered and the whole town marking him out as the prime suspect, things go from bad to worse when small bumps on his forehead begin to sprout those titular horns. While he tries to find out who actually did kill his girlfriend, he discovers that those in his company can’t resist the power of the horns, spilling their guts to Radcliffe about anything he might ask, and giving in to all of their naughtiest desires.
Based on a book by Joe (son of Stephen King) Hill and directed by Alexandre (The Hills Have Eyes, Switchblade Romance) Aja, this had match made in heaven (or hell) written all over it. And things start off pretty well, with Aja setting the twisted tone quite well, mixing up the insanely dark comedic aspects with the eye-catching horror elements. But then it just sort of plateaus out, repeating the same beats over and over again, right up to its very-easy-to-guess ending.
Radcliffe does okay in the title role, but you can’t help but think that if the producers had been less interested in the stunt casting, the film would’ve been improved immensely. Along with Temple, we’ve got David Morse, Max Minghella and a scene-stealing Heather Graham, all having fun but not doing much more than that. The best of the subplots goes to Joe Anderson, as Radcliffe’s drug-addict brother, someone constantly battling his inner demons and then forced to face an outer one in his own home. The fact that this is more emotionally involving than the main love-story/murder-mystery goes to show just how little you’ll care about who actually did kill Temple.
Some of the nightmarish imagery, and the sight of Radcliffe going all Britney wrapped up in snakes, proves that Aja still has the same killer eye he’s always had. The wishy-washy nature of mixed genres though, the same ones he brought to Piranha 3D, proves that he should probably stick to the straight up horrors from now on.