The Voices (4 stars)

The Voices

Ryan Reynolds plays a blinder in this entertaining comedy horror

'The cat made me do it!' exclaims Jerry (Ryan Reynolds) at one point in Marjane Satrapi’s visually striking comedy horror and to his mind he’s not lying. Jerry hears voices. His regular conversations with his cat and dog are comforting to him and, if that's not bad enough, so is killing unsuspecting female co-workers from the bath factory plant where he works.

When director Satrapi (Persepolis) read Michael R Perry’s leftfield script about a small-town serial killer who talks to his animals she felt compelled to make it. Her candy coloured vision perversely complements the gleefully dark and twisted material Perry has penned. Their decision to cultivate sympathy for a schizophrenic murderer may either anger or delight, but it could be argued that the imaginative fantasy created is far enough away from reality to set aside any misgivings regarding the way mental health is treated.

The original Maniac – starring Joe Spinell – is an obvious reference point for the script, but a lighter tone, dazzling production design and a revelatory central performance from Reynolds (who voices all the animals, including a potty mouthed Glaswegian cat) sets these two films worlds apart. The Voices actually has more in common with Cindy Sherman’s Office Killer, due to its absurdist charm and because the first murders committed by that film's protagonist (Carol Kane’s mousy Dorine) and Jerry are both accidents of sorts. That, and the fact that they are both incredibly lonely people.

Gemma Arterton, Anna Kendrick, Jacki Weaver and Ella Smith make for a brilliant supporting cast, while the refusal to use CGI gives The Voices a pleasingly old-school feel. Satrapi’s bold, bright and entertaining creation is laced with a pitch-black, sometimes truly sick sense of humour; it's wrong on many levels but that’s also what makes it so right.

Selected release from Fri 20 Mar.

The Voices | Official UK Trailer

The Voices

  • 4 stars
  • 2014
  • 1h 41min
  • 15
  • Directed by: Marjane Satrapi
  • Written by: Michael R. Perry
  • Cast: Ryan Reynolds, Gemma Arterton, Anna Kendrick

Lonely factory worker Jerry (Reynolds) has regular conversations with his cat and dog, which take an odd turn when he kills a female co-worker. Satrapi's candy-coloured vision perfectly complements Perry's gleefully twisted script, and Reynolds (who voices all the animals) plays a blinder.