ⓘ The Voices
The Voices is a 2014 black comedy horror film directed by Marjane Satrapi, written by Michael R. Perry, and starring Ryan Reynolds, Gemma Arterton, Anna Kendrick and Jacki Weaver. It had its world premiere at 2014 Sundance Film Festival on January 19, 2014. The film was released in a limited release and through video on demand on February 6, 2015, by Lionsgate. It received positive reviews from critics.
Jerry Ryan Reynolds is an upbeat man who works at a bathtub factory, and lives in a modified apartment above a bowling alley with his dog, Bosco, and his cat, Mr. Whiskers. Jerry is a schizophrenic who chooses not to take his medication and enjoys delusions and hallucinations that manifest in the form of his pets talking to him. Bosco often represents his good intentions while Mr. Whiskers represents his more violent nature. Jerry has a workplace crush on an English woman named Fiona. She stands him up to go to a karaoke party with two other women from work, Lisa and Alison. Fionas car doesnt start, leading her to flag down Jerry as he drives by. While driving her home, Jerry accidentally hits a deer which crashes through his windshield. Jerrys hallucinations show the deer urging him to put it out of its misery. Jerry does as told, using a hunting knife to cut its throat. Terrified, Fiona runs off into the woods. Jerry chases her, still carrying the knife, to explain but ends up tripping over Fiona, and accidentally stabbing her. As Fiona bleeds out, Jerry tearfully apologizes for hurting her and says that he loves her. To end her pain, Jerry stabs her again, and she dies.
Upon returning home, Bosco suggests he go to the police and confess, while Mr. Whiskers says there is no shame in what he did, but insists Jerry needs to dispose of the body. Jerry collects Fionas body but leaves a bloody shoe and pile of organs. He dismembers Fiona, packing her innards in numerous Tupperware containers and placing her severed head inside his fridge. As his delusions increase in intensity, Fionas head comes to life and starts talking to him. Jerry attempts to apologize once again, but she rejects his apology, citing the good life she had before she died. Fiona then demands Jerry take his medication. Jerry takes his pills, and the next day, he experiences nightmares of his emotionally abusive father. When he wakes up his hallucinations have ended; his pets no longer speak to him, his apartment is a mess, with animal waste and garbage littering his living room, and blood stains all over his kitchen. Fionas head no longer speaks and is foul and rotting. He throws away the pills in terror, and the next morning, his hallucinations return and his life is back to normal. Fiona tries to convince Jerry to kill another person "so she has a friend".
Jerry asks Lisa on a date. He takes her to his abandoned childhood home, where it is revealed his mother had admitted to her insanity and was about to be taken away by the authorities when he was a child. When they arrived, she decided to commit suicide by trying to slit her throat, but couldnt do it herself and so she begged Jerry to finish the job to end her suffering. The police found Jerry standing over his dead mother and he was committed instead. Jerry sobs in front of Lisa, who comforts him. They go to her house and spend the night together.
Lisa goes to Jerrys house. She wanders in and discovers the state of the apartment, including all the containers of organs and blood stains, becoming hysterical when she discovers Fionas disembodied head on the coffee table. Despite pressure from Mr. Whiskers, Jerry refuses to kill her. Jerry tries to explain, but Lisa flees and locks herself in the bathroom. When Jerry breaks in, Lisa starts hitting him with a towel hanger and runs to his room. Jerry tries to calm her with an apology, which she seems to accept. When she tries to escape, Jerry throws her back into the room, causing the back of her neck to hit a shelf, badly breaking it, leaving her paralyzed and slowly dying. After she dies, Jerry dismembers her, placing her head in the fridge next to Fionas. Other workers realize Fiona and Lisa have gone missing. When Alison goes to Jerrys house to investigate, Jerry immediately kills her, taking her head as well.
Jerry confesses his killings to his counselor Dr. Warren. She tries to call the police, but he takes her hostage and flees into the countryside, desperately wanting her to help him. She calms him down and shows understanding, seeming to make some progress with Jerry. Meanwhile, two other workers from accounting break into Jerrys home, letting Bosco escape through the front door, and immediately call the police. Shortly after Jerry returns home, still holding Warren hostage, the police surround his house and prepare to move in. Jerry flees down into the basement, breaking a gas pipe while doing so. After rescuing Dr. Warren, the police are knocked back from an explosion caused by the gas leak.
Jerry realizes the bowling alley is on fire and he is in grave danger. The voices of Bosco and Mr. Whiskers speak to him in his own mind. Mr. Whiskers insists that he get out of there and find another place to live, to hide, so that he may continue killing and feeling alive. However, Bosco tells him that there is no place for him in life any longer and that he should let the fire "put him to sleep". Choosing to stay and end his own misery, he lies down and waits until he blacks out from the smoke.
In a white void, Bosco and Mr. Whiskers confess that, despite their opposing beliefs, they did like each other, before going their separate ways. Jerry then appears with his parents, Fiona, Lisa and Alison, and he apologizes to the women for killing them. Jesus appears, and they all dance and sing together. In the end, Jesus ascends Jerry in a forklift.
- Gulliver McGrath as young Jerry
- Ryan Reynolds as Jerry Hickfang and the voices of Bosco, Mr. Whiskers, The Deer and Bunny Monkey
- Stephanie Vogt as Tina TV
- Alessa Kordeck as Sheryl
- Anna Kendrick as Lisa
- Ella Smith as Alison
- Valerie Koch as Jerrys mother
- Paul Brightwell as Jerrys stepfather
- Sam Spruell as Dave
- Stanley Townsend as Sheriff Weinbacher
- Gemma Arterton as Fiona
- Adi Shankar as John
- Paul Chahidi as Dennis Kowalski
- Jacki Weaver as Dr. Warren
Before initial production, the script for The Voices was incredibly praised including being listed on The Black Lists Best UN-produced Screenplays of 2009. The film originally had Mark Romanek attached to direct The Voices back in 2010 with Ben Stiller set to act as Jerry Hickfang, but was never made due to the budget issues. The project was brought up again in August 2012, when it was announced that Marjane Satrapi will be directing the black comedy instead. When asked about casting Ryan Reynolds in the leading role, Satrapi stated in an interview with Digital Spy, "At the beginning, the producer and myself said lets look for an actor, and then Ryan made the voices on his iPhone and he sent it over, and I was like, "Who is that?" And suddenly it makes sense. That is the voices the guy hears, so who else but him can do it? It can only be him, so, yeah, it was an obvious choice."
Principal photography began in April 2013 in Berlin, Germany.
The film had its world premiere at the Sundance Film Festival on January 19, 2014. on March 5, 2014, it was announced Lionsgate had acquired distribution rights to the film. The film screened at the Toronto International Film Festival on September 11, 2014. The film was then released on video on demand and in limited release on February 6, 2015. In the films opening weekend the film made $5.000.
4.1. Release Critical reception
The Voices received generally positive reviews. On Rotten Tomatoes the film has an approval rating of 75% based on 88 reviews, with an average rating of 6.6/10. The websites critical consensus reads, The Voices gives Ryan Reynolds an opportunity to deliver a highlight-reel performance - and offers an off-kilter treat for fans of black comedies." On Metacritic, which assigns a rating, the film has a score 58 out of 100, based on 24 critics, indicating "mixed or average reviews".
Brad Wheeler of Canadas The Globe and Mail gave the film three out of four stars and stated that, "Think of this stylish, quirky and quite grisly feature from Marjane Satrapi as a meeting of Psycho, Dexter and Dr. Doolittle."
5. Awards and nominations
- 20th annual LEtrange Festival in Paris bestowed two awards on the film: the Canal+ Nouveau Genre Award the festivals Grand Prize and the equally prestigious Audience Award.
- 2015 Festival International du Film Fantastique de Gerardmer granted two more honors to the film: the Audience Award and the Jury Award.