Ryan Reynolds manages to be both scary and sweet in The Voices, a darkly funny, disarmingly weird horror-comedy about a mentally ill factory worker who embarks upon an accidental killing spree, egged on by his talking cat.
The chatty moggy, who has a foul mouth, a Scottish accent and goes by the name Mr Whiskers, is one of the inner voices heard by Reynolds’ charmingly chipper paranoid schizophrenic Jerry, whose decision to stop taking his pills has alarming consequences for his co-workers Fiona (Gemma Arterton) and Lisa (Anna Kendrick), and for his long-suffering therapist (Jacki Weaver).
Unmedicated, Jerry is responsible for some very grisly acts, but his delusional state gives him a bizarre innocence, making him almost as much victim as perpetrator. That he retains our sympathy amid the gore is largely down to Reynolds’ goofy charm, abetted by the film’s colourfully cartoony look, an in-your-face mix of surrealism and kitsch created by Iranian-born director Marjane Satrapi, best-known for the Oscar-nominated animated feature Persepolis, based on her own autobiographical comic-book about growing up as a gobby girl under the tyranny of the mullahs in late-1970s-early-1980s Iran.
No stranger to causing offence, her work here is deliciously sick. Which won’t, needless to say, be to all tastes.
Certificate 15. Runtime 101 mins. Director Marjane Satrapi.