The Voices – USA, 2014

‘Hearing voices can be murder’

The Voices is a 2014 American black comedy horror feature film directed by Marjane Satrapi from a screenplay by Michael R. Perry (Paranormal Activity 2). The movie stars Ryan Reynolds, Gemma Arterton, Anna Kendrick and Jacki Weaver.

Jerry (Ryan Reynolds), a mentally unhinged factory worker, must decide whether to listen to his talking cat and become a serial killer, or follow his dog’s advice to keep striving for normalcy…

Reviews:

“The exact mid-point between Dr. Dolittle and Dr. Lecter, it’s tonally wonky and not as funny as was perhaps intended. But the underrated Reynolds launches a full-force attack on his role (or roles; he also voices the cat and dog), and there are staggering stylised moments, including famous heads in a fridge and a climactic musical number.” Nick De Semlyen, Empire

“Think of this stylish, quirky and quite grisly feature from Marjane Satrapi as a meeting of PsychoDexter and Dr. Doolittle.” Brad Wheeler, The Globe and Mail

“The film’s combination of psychological drama — cue the childhood trauma — with blood-splattered limb-cutting, talking heads in the fridge and talking pets on the couch is a risky one that finally works because Perry and Satrapi find the right tonal mixture for the material, with Jerry’s reality recognizable yet strangely heightened from the start (all the overly joyous pinks in the factory should have been a give-away).” Boyd van Hoeij, The Hollywood Reporter

” …a subversive, darkly comedic, and unconventionally brilliant film […] Tonally ambiguous, the film glides back and forth between gory horror and grim comedy in such a strangely memorable manner that it’s sure to make many very uncomfortable.” Carlos Aguilar, IndieWire

“The problem, beyond a general hideous un-funniness, is that the film’s premise is deeply repulsive. For about half of the film, Jerry’s insanity is meant to be kind of cute. For the other half, he’s butchering the women who work with him, brutally, in scenes that are staged as horror set pieces, and are performed by the female actors with an according intensity.” Chuck Bown, Slant magazine

“In tapping Satrapi to interpret this project, the producers have done about as well as one could expect with such material. Still, a bit more consistency in style would have gone a long way: The pic’s tone is all over the place, from the bright red razor slash that underscores its opening titles to the “Amelie”-esque flights of fancy along the way…” Peter Debruge, Variety

Cast and characters:

  • Ryan Reynolds as Jerry Hickfang and the voices of Bosco, Mr. Whiskers, The Deer and Bunny Monkey
  • Anna Kendrick as Lisa
  • Gemma Arterton as Fiona
  • Jacki Weaver as Dr. Warren
  • Sam Spruell as Dave
  • Adi Shankar as John
  • Ella Smith as Alison
  • Paul Chahidi as Dennis Kowalski
  • Stanley Townsend as Sheriff Weinbacher
  • Valerie Koch as Jerry’s mother
  • Paul Brightwell as Jerry’s stepfather
  • Alessa Kordeck as Sheryl
  • Stephanie Vogt as Tina TV
  • Gulliver McGrath as young Jerry

Production:

Principal photography began in April 2013 in Berlin, Germany.

Release:

The Voices had its world premiere at 2014 Sundance Film Festival on January 19, 2014.

The $11 million film was released theatrically in a very limited form – taking a mere $444,196 – and through video on demand on February 6, 2015, by Lionsgate. In July 2018, it becomes available on Netflix.

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