It’s not every day you get to see a horror comedy that’s actually both scary and funny. For that French director Marjane Satrapi must be congratulated. Her latest work, about a psychologically imbalanced man who converses with animals and dismembered heads as he slips down a homicidal spiral, not only hits those tones but hits them hard.
Designed with pushy primary colours cast in artificial ambient light, the movie has a fantastical look that strikes one as slightly manic, an impression strengthened by the occasional musical choreography. Building on that chirpiness, the inner urges of the protagonist as voiced unfiltered through his cat and dog come across as innocently, genuinely loopy. Which makes it all the more surprising when the knife comes out, the body parts start piling up and a real sense of dread toward this unhinged personality seeps through.
But despite its delightfully wild range, the movie ultimately feels more uneven than layered. Ryan Reynold’s performance lacks the necessary elasticity to pull off such an unpredictable character. A couple of sharp, rather heavy-handed dramatic turns and the somewhat ill-considered ending also suggest the filmmaker got too excited over an admittedly cool idea and bit off more than she could chew.
The Voices | Directed by Marjane Satrapi (USA 2014) with Ryan Reynolds, Gemma Atherton, Anna Kendrick. Starts April 30
Originally posted in issue #137, April 2015