Complete A-Z list

Voices, The


Stars: Ryan Reynolds, Gemma Arterton, Anna Kendrick, Jacki Weaver, Ella Smith

Director: Marjane Satrapi

Enter the psychedelic psycho. Clad in company pink, Jerry (Reynolds) has eyes on the new, outgoing English girl (Arterton) at a bathtub factory, while her quieter American colleague (Kendrick) quite fancies Jerry herself.

Newish to the shipping section of the company, Jerry's asked to organise an office party, and has visions of all the staff doing a conga. The fabric of Jerry's life, however, is about to fall apart for, as quickly becomes apparent, he's a nutter, a multi-split-personality psychopath to rival Norman Bates.

Recently released from a local asylum, Jerry lives above a bowling alley where he talks to his various pets, who in turn talk back to him (Reynolds does all the voices), While the dog is the voice of reason, the evil Scottish ginger cat (cats seem to be typecast as villains or scoundrels in movies these days) encourages Jerry not to take his meds and sends him off on a killing spree.

He keeps his victims' heads in a fridge where he imagines that they, too, talk back to him.

Garishly lit throughout, the film has a Life of Brian-style song-and-dance ending, perhaps to emphasise that, after all, this is just an extremely dark comedy-horror, with a rather good performance by the star. Sometimes, though, it's hard to tell which part of the plot is driven by Jerry's fevered mind, as when he returns to his first victim to find her virtually blood-free after his frenzied stabbing, or when her car turns up in the company car park after she has abandoned it miles away.

The film tries to keep a light undercurrent going, but eventually fails to do so, as the charnel-house atmosphere overwhelms all such attempts, making the final kaleidoscopic caper all the more uncomfortable.

Incidentally, this may be the only film you'll ever see with a credit for 'stand-in voices'.

David Quinlan

USA 2014. UK Distributor: Vertigo. Colour (unspecified).
102 minutes. Widescreen. UK certificate: 15.

Guidance ratings (out of 3): Sex/nudity 1, Violence/Horror 2, Drugs 0, Swearing 2.

Review date: 17 Mar 2015