As much as I enjoy making fun of the Sundance Film Festival for being run by boring faux intellectuals with predictable movie taste, it was also the place where I saw Hesher, Winter’s Bone, and Elite Squad 2, so credit where credit’s due. The latest awesome-sounding movie to come out of Sundance is The Voices, in which Ryan Reynolds tries to prove Bill Simmons wrong in a film where he plays a serial killer who receives orders to kill from his talking cat. I like murder, but honestly, you had me at “Ryan Reynolds and a cat.”
In what surely wins the award for the most bizarre logline of the fest, The Voices stars Reynolds as a psychopathically cheery factory employee who heads home every evening to speak to his cat and dog, who continually debate whether he should kill more women. (The cat is for it, the dog not.)
If dogs and cats could talk, I can almost guarantee the cat would be more in favor of killing people than the dog. So far, it sounds pretty realistic.
Things start pleasantly enough, but by the time Reynolds makes his first kill, repeatedly stabbing his pretty coworker Gemma Arterton while also apologizing, “I’m sorry if I hurt you!” things take a real turn for the crazy. The scene where Reynolds saws Arterton into little bloody pieces and pops her severed head into the fridge — then imagines the head talking to him, too — pushed more than a few audience members to their limit, thanks to the movie’s gruesome, bone-cutting sound effects. Eventually, Arterton’s head “asks” Reynolds, “Can you get me a friend?” and he sets his murderous sights on Anna Kendrick, his pretty coworker. It does not go well.
My God, this thing just keeps sounding better and better. How did this movie make it into Sundance? Well, it turns out, it was directed by Marjane Satrapi, author of the seminal Iranian coming-of-age graphic memoir Persepolis.
Satrapi said at the post-premiere Q&A. “I don’t like blood, there’s no way I’m gonna do this kind of stuff.” But when it came time to film a scene where Arterton is splashed with blood by a talking deer who asks to have his throat slit (it’s that kind of movie, guys), some sort of switch went off in Satrapi. “I was just completely crazy,” she said. “I was like, ‘MORE BLOOD! MORE BLOOD!’ And I realized that I actually really liked it.” [Vulture]
It sounds like everything came together just so to get this movie made and accepted into Sundance. Now, if we could just get Alison Bechdel and David Sedaris to collaborate on a script about sword fighting pterodactyls, the festival circuit would be a lot more worth paying attention to.