Happy-go-lucky Jerry works at Milton bathtub factory and seems to enjoy his 9 to 5 job. He lives alone above a bowling alley with pet cat Mr Whiskers and dog Bosco and seems to live an ordinary life despite being under a psychiatrist (Jacki Weaver). After being stood up on a night out by English work colleague Fiona (Gemma Arterton), things take an enexpected turn which results with blood on Jerry’s hands. Taking advice from his aggressive, ruthless Scottish talking cat and benevolent Southern talking dog, Jerry must work out what to do: should he listen to Mr. Whiskers, enjoy the thrill and continue to kill or should he listen to Bosco, stop now and confess all to his psychiatrist Dr. Warren?
Black comedy horror THE VOICES explores mental health issues with its troubled character Jerry who leads a very disturbed life. Though he’s quite upbeat and optimistic, especially at work which some people find annoying whilst other alluring, Jerry’s a broken man who finds solace in chatting to his pets. Needing guidance and reassurance, Jerry relies on Mr Whiskers and Bosco to help him do the right thing but with the pets offering conflicting opinions, Jerry finds himself left to his own decisions.
Ryan Reynolds stars as Jerry who comes across as a very likable character, if a little quirky at times. He’s keen to do what’s right and to try his best to be a good man but sometimes its not so cut and dry. In a suprising turn, Reynolds also voices Mr Whiskers and Bosco as well as two other characters, displaying an entertaining range of vocal performing skills that I never knew he possessed. Reynolds brings a variety of performances to the table with each character individual in their persona without an overlap. His role voicing the animals in addition to his performance as Jerry injects an extra dimension of humour into the horror comedy and fits the storyline with Jerry rather well, considering they are the voices he himself hears. Gemma Arterton, Anna Kendrick, Jacki Weaver and Ella Smith are all fantastic in their supporting roles as the females in Jerry’s life, from co-workers to psychiatrist.
During the horror elements of the film, of which not much is shown except a bloodied face here and chopped up human remains there, everything looks rather organised. Jerry takes control of the situations he finds himself in with a refined style and the world he lives in is as blissful and glossy. Even driving down the road he imagines butterflies are fluttering around him like some Disney children’s movie. This is Jerry’s world and everything in it is glorious! But Jerry hasn’t been taking his prescribed medication and when he eventually does, the grim reality of the world around him is revealed: a dirty apartment, blood-stained lampshade and walls and that head in the fridge isn’t as fresh looking and awake as he remembered. It’s no wonder that Jerry refuses to take the meds so that he can perpetually live in a blissful existence where everything is hunky dory. Except, sooner or later, he’ll have to face reality when it no doubt will catch up on him and his crimes.
THE VOICES is entertaining for its unique approach but as a comedy and even a horror, it didn’t quite work as well as I’d have liked it to. Whilst some of the horror scenes are truly disturbing, I didn’t find the movie particularly funny even though the antisocial cat spouted some brilliant curse-laced one-liner insults. It’s without a doubt a stylish movie and the way some of the scenes are executed are exceptionally clever, particularly the difference between Jerry’s world and the real world, but as whole, THE VOICES seems to be lacking in depth.