Feb 06 2015

The Voices Review. A Movie Heard Loud, But Not So Clear

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Production Company: Lionsgate

Starring: Ryan Reynolds, Anna Kendrick, Gemma Arterton, Jacki Weaver, and Gulliver McGrath

Director: Marjane Satrapi

Genre: Comedy-Horror

Running Time: 103 Minutes

MPAA Rating: R

Rating:

 

The Voices posterWe all have that little voice in our heads that tells us to do good or bad things. The Voices takes that concept to a whole other level. In this comedy-horror flick, we get a movie with a skeleton of a good idea, but it doesn’t have enough meat to satisfy our appetites. The Voices has some entertaining aspects, but there isn’t enough bang for your buck.

The Voices is about Jerry Hickfang (Ryan Reynolds), a timid packaging worker who isn’t the sharpest tool in the shed. He has a Brady Bunch attitude towards life and is kind to every living soul, but he’s oblivious to the awkwardness caused by his mental issues. Although, he has a secret that has haunted him his whole life; he hallucinates that his cat is trying to make him a serial killer while his dog is trying to prevent him from his deadly tendencies. Even though Jerry is nice and doesn’t want to do anything wrong, he still ends up killing people while fighting to figure out what’s right, what’s wrong, and what’s real.

Reynolds is a good choice for the role. He isn’t amazing, but he does portray the right amount of glee and sadness the character needs for the movie. I wasn’t completely impressed by his acting but I was satisfied with his delivery. Gemma Arterton, who plays Fiona (Jerry’s crush/first victim), is good in her role, but I only really liked her when she was just a head in a fridge and not when she was alive and acting like a conceited bitch. The person who impresses me the most is Anna Kendrick, who plays a cheerfully shy love interest without any issues. I wasn’t too surprised to see Kendrick in The Voices because of the character types she usually chooses for her roles.

Jerry accidentally killing Fiona

Jerry accidentally kills Fiona

I love the idea of this movie. The Voices is morbidly amusing and makes me laugh. There are some issues, though, that prevent me from being enchanted by the charm of the movie—mainly, the writing. Once we learn that Jerry hears voices and the voices make him kill people, it doesn’t move much further than that concept. The writers take that idea and show it to us over and over again. After awhile, the movie becomes less interesting and less funny. I understand the whole concept of the film revolves around Jerry hearing voices and killing people, but the writers could’ve pushed it further than just animals and heads talking to him by adding something new to his hallucinations. Either way, it gets old after awhile. There are some cool moments when Jerry takes pills to help with his hallucinations, causing him to see the world differently than other people, but even that doesn’t hold my interest.

Jerry looks to be enjoying breakfast with Fiona's head

Jerry looks to be enjoying breakfast with Fiona’s head

There are, however, some aspects of the film I did enjoy. The directing is well done, for the most part. There are only a few things director Marjane Satrapi could’ve done better like speeding up the pace of the film or conveying the suspense in certain scenes a little better, but her shortcomings are probably due to the script rather than her directing. The thing I like best is her ability to show a sharp contrast between the darker and lighter scenes. Given the theme of The Voices, we are able to distinguish the comedy scenes from the horror scenes easily with the variation of brighter and darker colors, the lighting, and the pristine and grimy look to the sets without them being too obvious. Satrapi does a great job specifically when Jerry takes his pills to help with his mental illness. We see Jerry’s point of view of a` pearly white existence when he isn’t on the pills; everything seems wonderful and sometimes cartoonish. But when he does take his medicine, we see the horrific reality that blinds him due to his disability. The different perceptions — from the warmth to the loneliness Jerry feels with or without his medication — is displayed nicely by the director, giving me a stronger connection to the struggles the character is feeling.

Jerry is debating with Fiona, Bosco the dog and Mr. Whiskers (cat) if killing is right or wrong

Jerry is debating with Fiona, Bosco the dog and Mr. Whiskers the cat about whether killing is right or wrong

I’ve always said comedies are the hardest things to make but comedy-horrors are even harder to create.Movies like Shawn of the Dead and Army of Darkness are difficult to come by. You need to have just the right mixture of comedy and horror to make a good film. Although The Voices is good in some respects, it doesn’t blow you away. Be careful of that little voice that tells you The Voices is a must see, because it isn’t. But if you hear a voice telling you to watch this film because you have time on your hands, listen to it — and then go to the doctor because it’s not normal to hear voices.

 

Photos © 2015 Lionsgate. All Rights Reserved.

 

© 2015, Nick Polizzi. All rights reserved.

Nick Polizzi

You might say I'm a firm believer in the Narrative Paradigm. I'm a storyteller. If I'm not watching a film, I'm reading a book or writing. Laughing is the most important thing in the world, so I do my best to infect everyone with humor. I also enjoy the stuff the cool kids like, but my true identity is a sarcastic, ordinary nerd who strives to be extraordinary.

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