Talking animals and Ryan Reynolds have never been so terrifying!
The Voices is rather a two-headed beast. One is snarling with menace and breathing down your neck, dribbling with dread. The other is laughing with open palms, inviting you to step inside for a cup of Earl Grey and a good chinwag.
The result is that you can’t help but feel slightly unsure of how to respond throughout most of this film; but at no single moment will you want to turn away, for this contrast creeps into your nerves and jolts them between laughter and shock with an almost unsettling confidence.
On your head?
For the likably insane Jerry (Ryan Reynolds), this two-headed beast comes in the form of his pet cat and dog, who he believes are talking to him; ‘Mr. Whiskers’ cajoles Jerry into wreaking a murderous vengeance upon his peers after being ‘taken advantage of’ at work and stood up on a date, whilst soft-spoken Bosco (the dog) tries to steer Jerry away from these temptations.
In fact, Jerry’s entire perception of reality becomes completely skewed into some kind of rosy-cheeked after-school special. It’s a world in which an office party conga line is the epitome of pleasantness and a fridge full of severed human heads can be jolly good company as long as their desire for “more friends” is appeased.
However, once the blinders are taken off and we see the true reality of the setting, the stark horror underlying the comedy is laid bare, revealing a gas-station apartment stuffed to the brim with boxes full of human flesh, the contents of which snake down the walls and dry out into the carpet as a captive cat and dog bear witness to the ordeal.
Romance and psychodrama
It’s rare to encounter a film that not only mixes comedy and horror well, but makes them mutually inseparable. The fact that Reynolds brings such a childish air to proceedings makes his brutal acts all the more scary, because he come across as so simple-minded and even innocuous at times.
The Voices obviously channels inspiration from the likes of Cabin in the Woods and American Psycho, except our lead man in this case is a humble factory worker and not a swaggering yuppie. The satire and social commentary of these films are lacking, but that doesn’t stop Reynolds and company from having a whole heap of fun with the jet-black script.
If you just want a good laugh and don’t mind being disturbed, then there’s still plenty of great material to enjoy here, although an extremely dark sense of humour is a definite requirement.
If you and your partner can see the funny side in a cat with a Scottish-accent dispensing everything from dating advice to instructions for murder to its master, or a repentant Reynolds apologising for accidentally stabbing his hot date – as he continues to do – then you should be in for a very interesting late night movie session.
The Voices is out in UK cinemas on the 20th March.