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The Voices (2015)
The Voices has got a few intriguingly macabre ideas going for it as a playful cult satire of slasher flicks. For one, Jerry is never mean-spirited and just wants to help stop the pain he's 'accidentally' inflicted on his various victims. This movie seems to be taking a stab at being a lighter, quirkier shade of American Psycho (2000) - possibly inspired by The Beaver (2011). Ryan Reynolds' lead character Jerry talks to his pet dog and cat as though the amusing cartoony voices he hears speaking back to him - voiced by Reynolds - are theirs. Just as when Jerry later chats with what remains of Fiona in his fridge and she replies in an overtly hammy Brit accent, it's amusing.
A more memorable highlight is, visually, the line tenuously separating Jerry's true reality from his brightly tinted, slightly hallucinogenic view of the world is wonderfully realized. He's a psychiatric patient recently released into his backwoods hometown of Milton, prescribed mandatory evaluation sessions with local psychoanalyst Dr. Warren (Jacki Weaver) as well as heavy, urge-dulling medication that he maybe sometimes takes. Off the drugs, the world is saturated in shiny colour where happy Jerry sees friendly Fiona as a beautiful angel he could love. In reality, Jerry's just another factory simpleton to Fiona. Jilted and abandoned, all she wants is to escape that jerkwater town.
Unfortunately, neither director Satrapi nor Michael R. Perry's screenplay demand much over-all from this otherwise proven cast of talent beyond screen presence. Reynolds and Arterton are a delight to see working together here, but their on-screen enthusiasm soon fizzles and ends up feeling phoned in. And, while nasty wee Mr. Whiskers' escalating murderous mentorship of Jerry to truly feel alive by killing is a mad genius twist on big screen nuttiness, its potential is undermined by an undercooked story that ultimately plays it safe with a genre hybrid that pretty much demands a nudge to extremes. The Voices gets a little weird and bloody at times, but it's a one-punchline comedy-horror without any guts. Yawn.
I checked out this flick because I've enjoyed most of Ryan Reynolds' previous comedies, and I'm happy Gemma Arterton's film career flourishes despite the curse of her being a former Bond girl. The Voices isn't an awful movie, it's worse. It's a boring comedy-horror. As promising as this cast seems and as clever as the story premise looks from the onset, The Voices is a disappointing, forgettably talent-wasting mess of missed potential that's barely worth sitting through out of curiosity for free. Reviewed 03/15, © Stephen Bourne, moviequips.ca.
The Voices is rated 14A by the
Ontario Film Review Board, citing occasional gory/grotesque images,
limited use of slurs, coarse language, sexual references, crude
content, occasional upsetting or disturbing scenes, embracing
and kissing, mild sexual innuendo, implied sexual activity, and
restrained portrayals of non-graphic violence, and is rated 13+
by la Régie du Cinéma in Québec.
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