Jerry (Ryan Reynolds) is a man. A man with who is slightly unhinged. A man who hears disembodied voices – The Voices. When he accidentally kills the woman of his dreams, Fiona (Gemma Arterton), he must decide whether he is going to listen to his sardonic talking cat, Mr. Whiskers, and become a serial killer, or to his loving, supportive dog, Bosco, and be a “good boy”.
At it’s heart the blackest of comedies, The Voices centres on the town oddball, Jerry Hickfang, a simple, happy, overly friendly dude who works at the local bathtub factory, Milton Fixture & Faucet International. Jerry isn’t like everybody else. He’s a little intense, perhaps even creepy, but his peculiarities and enthusiastic nature are what make him so intensely likable. And boy, is he enthusiastic! He emphatically loves pizza so much he joyfully takes the office’s excess cold slices home. He excitedly adores Shi-Shan Chinese buffet, with it’s Asian Elvis, resurrected Bruce Lee and unusual Godzilla performances, so much so, he gleefully invites the English Fiona on a ‘casual’ date there (as if he could act casually). He is a dork. A dork with a huge secret…
Ryan Reynolds is in his element as Jerry. And Mr. Whiskers and Bosco (voices of, he’s not that good an actor). His rapid descent into insanity is not only believable, but he plays it so sweet, so ‘wants to do good’, that is nigh on impossible to feel anything but sympathy. He wants to get better, but cruelly the medicine he’s prescribed makes the world less colourful, more grey and depressing.
The way Marjane Satrapi directs the juxtaposition between the candy coloured, neon-bright and beautiful world in Jerry’s mind, versus the bloody disgusting truth of reality is masterful. Its a glimpse of his dark and dingy apartment, blood-spattered and permeating with rotting body parts, before switching black to his glossy, bright, clean view of the same room. Its a flash of the melting faces of his victims lined up in the refrigerator, versus the perfectly made-up, happy, smiling disembodied heads he sees. A dance with Fiona at the office party is delightfully chaotic and uncoordinated. Even sounds effects are more exaggerated, such as the ‘BOOM’ when he fist bumps his love. His mind is so beguiling, its almost empathetic as to why he prefers to metaphorically reside there.
The Voices wasn’t critically well received on release and its largely forgotten in the wider pop culture zeitgeist. But it is well on it’s way to ‘cult classic’ status among film fans. For all it’s madcap pandemonium, it is a film with a beating heart and soul. As his therapist says, “being alone in the world is the root of all suffering – but Jerry, we’re not alone.” If anything, there’s a really positive mental health message to take away from this: we aren’t alone, and reality is where life is, so seek and accept help, gosh darn-it!
Jerry may have stopped taking the pills, but The Voices is the exact horror pill I take when I am in need for a horror pick-me-up.
Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’m off to go sing a happy song…
THE DEETS Release Date: 20 Mar, 2015 Film Length: 1hr 43mins Genre: Comedy, Crime, Horror, Thriller BASH RATING: 9/10