Wednesday, 2 August 2017

No.127 : The Voices

The Voices at the IMDb

The ubiquitous Ryan Reynolds stars as Jerry, a likeable chap who hears ’the voices’ and unfortunately, does ’the murders’

Jerry is a new recruit at a bathroom factory, a nice place to work where the uniforms are pink and the pizza is free. We get the sense early on that Jerry has a history as his job comes via a rehabilitation scheme. No one seems too bothered and Jerry gets put on a committee to arrange the works’ party.  At the first meeting he meets the lovely Fiona (Gemma Arterton) who reluctantly agrees to a date with Jerry before standing him up - huge mistake!

After a lonely Chinese dinner Jerry meets up with Fiona and her broken down car. She  accepts a lift  and things go OK until they hit a deer and Jerry puts it out of its misery with his handy huge knife, after having a conversation with it. Unsurprisingly Fiona makes a run for it before Jerry falls and plunges his knife into her belly - was it an accident or was it murder? We’re left uncertain - but not for long!

Back at his home - a converted out of town bowling alley - Jerry confides with his pets - a kindly dog called Bosco and a foul mouthed, Scottish accented, cat called Mr Whiskers. The cat is downright evil and tells Jerry to go back and get the body and cover his trail. Jerry doesn’t need much convincing and soon Fiona’s head is in Jerry’s fridge and her body decanted into dozens of Tupperware tubs.

We get to learn Jerry’s troubled backstory via flashbacks and visits to his psychotherapist and it’s pretty miserable stuff. Jerry gets persuaded to return to his meds and the voices stop and his home changes from its pristine, imagined state to a dank killer’s lair - which is really is. Fiona’s head also stops talking and becomes its true rotted self - time to bin the pills then!

With the cat’s encouragement Jerry takes up an over keen Anna Kendrick’s offer of a night out, and soon the fridge is getting busier, as the payroll department gets quieter. Can a happy ending be found for anyone in this grim, comedic tale?

This is an oddity of a film that I tried hard to like and despite some choice moments, it comes across as a tonal mess. It tries to be a dark comedy but the killings are all so brutal and terrifying for the victims it’s hard to sympathise with Jerry, despite his mitigating background.

The talking pets, voiced by Reynolds, are good fun but we are left in no doubt that it’s all Jerry as they go mute when he takes his pills. Gemma and Anna are both lovely and gamely play along with what must have been an objectionable script.

I did enjoy large parts of the film but any investment you build up is lost when Jerry goes homicidal. I’m all for a slasher pic but when it’s married with funny animals and pretty young women getting butchered it’s very jarring.

Reynolds does well in an increasingly random role but doesn’t really convince as a sane worker who can woo all the top totty yet live in a charnel house and talk to the animals. One co-worker says he’s a bit weird but that seemed like an afterthought. I guess they’d say he’s a classic schizophrenic - a bit like the film.

The whole enterprise is somewhat redeemed by a cracking end sequence with the reunited cast - and Jesus - singing a banging ‘Sing a Happy Song’. Again tonally this is all wrong but it’s great fun and the best end credits scene since ‘The Adventures of Buckaroo Banzai’.

If you hear the voices telling you to watch this you’d do well to take their advice.

THE Tag Line : Sing a Happy Song - might cheer you up
Definite Rating : 60%

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