Sunday, March 5, 2023

REVIEW: The Voices (live action movie)

The Voices is a horror movie with dark (very very dark) comedic elements. I think I bought my copy new.

Even my synopsis gets into spoiler territory, but I felt it was necessary in order to get across how dark this becomes.


Jerry is a cheerful guy who loves his job working at a warehouse in a bathtub factory. He's had some problems in the past, but he's now seeing a court-appointed psychiatrist and is doing great...except that he doesn't have any friends or a girlfriend, just his dog Bosco and cat Mr. Whiskers. But then he falls head over heels for Fiona, one of the office ladies (in Accounting, I think? I can't remember) at his company.

Unfortunately, she isn't nearly as enamored with him as he is with her and stands him up when he invites her to dinner. He sees her later when she's having car trouble and assumes that this is what kept her from joining him for dinner, so he picks her up and starts taking her home. Unfortunately, he hits a deer, which goes through the windshield. He hallucinates the deer begging him to put it out of its misery, which he does, slitting its throat with a knife, much to Fiona's horror. Fiona runs off and Jerry goes after her, accidentally tripping and stabbing her. He then "puts her out of her misery" as well, stabbing her repeatedly while apologizing.

When he goes home, Bosco, who Jerry hears as the good part of his conscience, tells him to go to the police. However, Mr. Whiskers, his darker side, doesn't think he should feel bad about killing. Although Mr. Whiskers pretty much wins this battle, there's still the issue of Fiona's body, which Jerry eventually collects, dismembers, almost entirely stores in Tupperware containers throughout his home. He keeps her head in his fridge, where it continues to talk to him.

This is, of course, not the end of Jerry's troubles, as various people start worrying about and looking for Fiona, and Jerry begins to fall for Lisa, one of Fiona's coworkers.

Wow, this was dark. So very dark. In a poison-laced candy sort of way. I highly recommend watching, at the very least, the "The Voices: From Fridge to Frame" featurette after seeing this - it's somewhat helpful for decompression purposes and highlights some of the things the movie was trying to get across. 

The big thing was that a large portion of this movie depicted the world as seen through Jerry's unmedicated perspective - if I remember right, he admits fairly early on that he's stopped taking his medication. In the story he's trying to tell himself, none of the horrible things that happen are his fault, or even really happening at all. He's just doing what the voices have asked him to do. 

It takes a while for Jerry to be faced with reality as it really, truly is, although he occasionally gets glimpses of it. For example, at one point he tries to be good and take his medication. The results are horrible and pretty quick (as far as I know, quite a lot of psychiatric medicine doesn't work this quickly), reminding me of the game Fran Bow - his rose-colored view of the world is gone, leaving only the bleak, rotting, blood-spattered reality behind, and he can't face it.

Once Jerry killed Fiona, it was impossible for there to be anything like a "good" ending, but I had some hope that he would eventually accept what he'd done and allow himself to be treated. Instead, things just kept getting worse and worse. Near the end of the movie, Jerry finally gets a more helpful message: You don't have to do what the voices tell you to do, and you are not alone. But by that point it's way too late to do any good. Taken very simply, this movie seemed to be saying that there's no good reason for very mentally ill people to exist - and that's basically where Jerry ended up.

I went into this expecting a black comedy with talking animals and the possibility of murder, and what I got was crushingly dark and depressing. Truly impressive levels of awful. I cross-post all my reviews in places that ask for ratings (Goodreads and Librarything for books, Librarything only for movies and TV), and I genuinely don't know how to rate this. This made me feel empathy for Jerry (who went through awful things with his mother when he was a kid) and packed an extremely emotional punch, but I don't know that it was the kind of emotional punch I ever wanted or needed.

Additional Comments:

I thought the director's name (Marjane Satrapi) sounded familiar but couldn't immediately place her. Turns out she's the author of the graphic novel Persepolis.


Several featurettes about the making of the movie (in general, plus a couple focused on VFX, plus one on Ryan Reynolds voicing Bosco and Mr. Whiskers), deleted scenes, extended scenes, animatics, and a cast & costume sketch gallery.

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