The Voices shows us what happens when a fragile, psychotic mind starts taking orders from pets, as Marjane Satrapi’s pitch-black comedy delves into the mind of the disturbed, using a sinister cat and benevolent dog as a murderous catalyst. The Voices centers around Jerry, a charming but frail-minded factory worker pursuing his office crush. After their relationship takes a deathly turn, Jerry and his talking pets try to pick up the pieces as his life begins to spiral downward.
When your cat starts telling you to kill people, you’re officially a special brand of crazy; like One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest kind of crazy. Throw in a talking dog and a few severed heads that wont shut up and you’ve got Marjane Satrapi’s latest, a whimsical approach to the insane. Shown through a lens that mixes both humor and horror, The Voices is just as psychotic as its murderous madman, Jerry.
We see a lot of films shine a light on a guy like Jerry—fragile, scared, lonely and lost, trying to make sense of his abnormal life. But rarely are these characters examined in the way that Satrapi’s narrative delves into the mind of someone like Jerry. She smartly tells the story through his consciousness, both the good and the bad. Imagine a slasher film that takes place in two different realities and you’ll start to get a sense of what The Voices brings to the table. The blend of the psychotic absoluteness that Jerry battles with on a daily basis mixed into the real world delivers a unique horror experience, and trust me, there’s plenty of horror in this one.
Telling a story like The Voices—one that is so intricate, bouncing between the real and the unreal—only goes as far as the man behind the character. Ryan Reynolds is brilliant here as the disturbed Jerry, a character that is both lovable and terrifying. It’s a scary thing watching a guy that so desperately wants to fit in being consumed by his own dark thoughts and spiraling completely out of control. Are we insane for rooting for a murderer? Think about that for a second. How often is the bad guy the victim? Sure, he stacks up the body count with innocent women but you cant help but feel bad for the guy, as twisted as that is. It just speaks to how good Reynolds really is here, bringing a character to life that is equal parts terrifying and charming. On top of that, Reynolds voices both the cat and the dog in the film, among a few others. It’s just awesome.
Where The Voices really strikes a chord, though, is its ability to turn on a dime, transitioning from the comical to moments of genuine horror. I won’t spoil it here, but Reynolds is absolutely terrifying as he stalks his victims with blood-covered hands and a lost, unstoppable look on his face. I really loved that element of the film and I think it will surprise a lot of people, especially those who go into this one expecting nothing but laughs.
It’s a great film that unfortunately struggles in its final minutes. While the build up is strong and the journey is as entertaining as it gets, it sort of fizzles out by the time the credits roll. Don’t get me wrong, it’s a fine enough conclusion, I just expected something a little bigger, especially with how fantastical and crazy as this film really is. All that said, The Voices is a unique slice of horror that we won’t likely see again for a very long time. Reynolds taking killing order from his cat, Mr. Whiskers, is a bold, clownshit crazy idea, and it just so happens to work.