In The Voices, Ryan Reynolds delivers a convincing role as the mentally unstable Jerry, a dorky over-eager factory worker. He shows a wider range of acting that his previous roles couldn’t allow him and pulls it off. The rest of the cast is also great, with Gemma Arterton as the British hottie he pines for and Anna Kendrick as the down to earth gal he unexpectedly ends up with.
Unfortunately, solid performances aren’t enough to make it work. The Voices is too horrifying to be funny yet not suspenseful enough to be a horror.
Let me explain.
The first part of the movie is a dark-comedy about Jerry’s struggle with schizophrenia. As the movie title suggests, he hears voices. One is a Scottish accent from an orange tabby named Mr. Whiskers who is the instigator. The other is a dull nasal voice from a mastiff named Bosco who is a benevolent supporter. While their interactions are interesting, it’s a predictable take on the angel and devil on your shoulder. People with accents are evil and cats are assholes.
Just when we’re about to root for the guy, the second part flips the script. The movie turns into a gory horror through bloody set-pieces that have no suspense.
While Jerry is aware of his situation, taking his medications would also force him to deal with the stark reality of his condition. Once again we’re subjected to the crazy killer trope where mental illness is used as an excuse for murderous thoughts. The generic childhood trauma didn’t add any depth nor context to the voices Jerry hears.
The Voices wants to be ironic (further emphasized through the sing and dance number in the end credits), but ends up being uneven – the quirky stylized not so funny dark-comedy of a lonely bachelor doesn’t mesh well with an unsatisfying bloody horror of a crazy dork. The movie can’t decide what it’s supposed to be and doesn’t offer anything memorable either way.
Ryan Reynolds delivers a career highlight performance, but it's not enough to save The Voices from its inconsistent tone and offensive premise.