“Horns” is a stewing, blood-infused cauldron of atmospheric horror — and you can expect no less from director Alexandre Aja whose track record so far is frightening (“Piranha 3D,” “High Tension”). With “Horns,” however, Aja has ventured into adaptation territory (up till now, he had mostly worked on remakes) with Joe Hill’s bestselling novel of the same name (Hill is the pen name of Stephen King’s son Joseph). Aja has also brought in A-lister Daniel Radcliffe, who must be intent on shedding his Harry Potter image by taking on any role that doesn’t involve wands or quidditch.
As it is, Radcliffe is the best thing going in this cauldron, which lacks the crucial ingredient of a coherent storyline. There are a lot of “Huh?” moments that dent the mood, but Radcliffe is always there to keep the viewer interested. He plays Ig Perrish, a gloomy guy in a Washington logging town. One day, Ig’s girlfriend, Merrin (Juno Temple), turns up in the local forest, brutally raped and murdered. The whole town points a collective finger at Ig, despite his pleas of innocence. No one seemed to like Ig anyway — not even his own parents. So Ig withdraws and drinks himself into oblivion, only to wake up and find that horns are sprouting from his head. Bizarrely, the townspeople take the horns in stride, but can’t help airing their dirty laundry to Ig whenever he’s around. Ig soon decides to use this new-found power to locate Merrin’s real killer.