The Horror Honeys: The Voices: Always Blame The Cat

The Voices: Always Blame The Cat

A Head Honey New Release Review by Kat

The Voices (2014)

I’m going to get straight to the point here. TV shows and movies about serial killers are a small part of the slasher genre that are rarely done well. On extremely rare occasions, they are done beautifully, and we are gifted with a Hannibal or a select few episodes of Dexter, but otherwise the serial killer sub-set is left with the reminiscence of actual history, which is where things tend to get messy, sometimes awkwardly so. Families of the victims, and anyone involved with the case are invariably involved, and sometimes the actual story can get lost in translation. Lizzie Borden, John Wayne Gacy, Jeffrey Dahmer, Ted Bundy, David Berkowitz, Ed Gein… None of these killers have had their story told well in the world of make-believe, and it might never happen regardless of the momentum that the remake train is on these days. 

However, in the realm of fiction, killers are dealt a much better hand in terms of having their story told. The Voices is one of those rare instances where a serial killer can be so much more than just a body count. With a trailer that glosses over the intense darkness of the actual film, I wasn’t actually sure what I was in for when it came time to watch the film. Beware, there are MILD spoilers ahead. But nothing that’s not really in the trailer. 

The story: Jerry (the always adorkable Ryan Reynolds) is a regular guy. He works a Joe-Job in the shipping department of a bathtub/appliance factory. The employees all wear pink jumpsuits and hardhats and everything is just tickety fucking boo. However, there’s something not *quite* right about Jerry, but I fell in love with him when he ate a whole piece of pizza in one continuous series of mouthfuls without stopping to swallow or take a breath. 

Jerry has been placed in this new job by way of a court order, but we’re not told why or what went on prior to his days on the bathtub shipping line. The fact that this little tidbit is mentioned in passing makes it even more of a “blink and you’ll miss it” chill. Office politics are always the same; Jerry has a crush on the “hot English girl,” Fiona (Gemma Arterton) in accounting, and completely misses the fact that the Accounts Receivable girl, Lisa (Anna Kendrick) is the one who actually has a crush on him. Oh, Jerry. 

So wait... This isn't normal? Shit.
Jerry lives alone in a repurposed bowling alley (AWESOME) with his dog Bosco, and orange tabby Mr. Whiskers. What no one else knows, is that Bosco and Mr. Whiskers talk to Jerry… and Mr. Whiskers is a motherfucker. I feel a LOT of affinity with Mr. Whiskers. He’s just saying what I’m always thinking. Wait… that might not be a good thing.  

Sidenote: If you have the balls to give your pets stupid names, I don’t blame them for being homicidal… especially the cat. 

Don't fuck with Mr. Whiskers. 
This is where the darkness begins to creep in, and it happens SO subtly, that you don’t even realize it’s happening until there’s a fucking deer halfway through the windshield begging you to cut its throat. And things just go downhill for Jerry from there. 

Jerry has been seeing a court appointed psychiatrist (a fantastic Jacki Weaver), who, among other things is always asking Jerry if he’s taking his medication… Which, of course, he’s not. At the heart of it all, Jerry is a lonely man looking for reassurance and support in all the wrong places. In this case, the wrong place is listening to the voices in his head, which are projected into the personalities of his pets. Through some mildly traumatizing flashbacks we get a little more familiar with Jerry’s past, and some of the things that have led him to this point in his life. When he does take his medication, Jerry is utterly alone. And he’s not just alone, he’s alone in a reality that is completely altered from the one that has been created by his neurosis. The real world is dark, scary, smelly, and lonely, and Jerry is as unprepared for it as we are for the differences between the two. I was so pulled in by Jerry’s colourful, happy, fantasy world that I desperately wanted to see more of what it looked like in the cold hard light of the police halogens.

Pictured: The most Canadian murder ever.
"I'm sorry! I'm SO sorry!"
With his trademark snarky humour gone, Reynolds is disarming as Jerry, and comes across as a completely innocent, completely relatable, and completely sympathetic character - which isn’t something you generally find yourself saying about serial killers. Reynolds’ good looks definitely don’t hurt (they helped me get through that godawful Green Lantern for sure), but thankfully his performance goes much deeper, and so does the story. Arterton provides an unexpected amount of comic relief in her brief but… heady… role. and Kendrick delivers her part with the jubilant awkwardness of the “next best thing” who finally landed a hot guy. While none of the supporting women stand out as anything *really* special, that actually wasn’t a bone of contention - Every single one of them is a catalyst for Jerry’s various stages of development, and his final breakdown. 

Highlight: The fact that Reynolds voiced all three of his extra “Voices” makes the film that much better for me, and I love the fact that he fought for that little piece of integrity within the story. 

The verdict: 4 pretty heads in the fridge out of 5. 

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The Voices is available via iTunes, Amazon Instant Video, YouTube VOD, Vudu, Google Play, & blu-ray/DVD

Does your cat talk back to you?
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