The Voices

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The Voices
Theatrical release poster
Directed byMarjane Satrapi
Written byMichael R. Perry
Produced by
CinematographyMaxime Alexandre
Edited byStéphane Roche
Music byOlivier Bernet
Distributed by
Release dates
  • January 19, 2014 (2014-01-19) (Sundance)
  • February 6, 2015 (2015-02-06) (United States)
  • April 30, 2015 (2015-04-30) (Germany)
Running time
104 minutes[2]
  • United States
  • Germany
Budget$11 million[3]
Box office$2.2 million[4]

The Voices is a 2014 comedy horror film directed by Marjane Satrapi, written by Michael R. Perry, and starring Ryan Reynolds, Gemma Arterton, Anna Kendrick and Jacki Weaver. It had its world premiere at the 2014 Sundance Film Festival on January 19, 2014.[5] The film was released in a limited release and through video on demand on February 6, 2015, by Lionsgate.[6] It received generally positive reviews from critics, with many highlighting Reynolds’ performance.

The film follows a man suffering from schizophrenia and trying to maintain secrecy about his hallucinations. While off his medications, the man kills and dismembers his love interest. Later, he hallucinates that the dead woman urges him to kill again in order to provide her with a companion.


Jerry Hickfang struggles with schizophrenia, working at a plumbing fixtures factory and living above a bowling alley. He lies to his court-appointed therapist, Dr. Warren, concealing his hallucinations of his pets - his good-natured dog, Bosco, and his antisocial cat, Mr. Whiskers - talking to him.

Jerry invites his coworker Fiona to a Chinese dinner theater, but she stands him up to karaoke with her colleagues Lisa and Alison. When Fiona's car fails to start, she flags down Jerry as he drives by. While driving her home, a deer crashes through his windshield. Hallucinating that the deer is begging him to put it out of its misery, Jerry cuts its throat with a hunting knife. Terrified, Fiona runs into the woods, and Jerry follows, still holding the knife. He trips and accidentally stabs her, seriously wounding her. Tearfully declaring that he loves her, he repeatedly stabs her to death while apologizing.

At home, Bosco suggests Jerry go to the police, but Mr. Whiskers says that he should not be ashamed of killing. Jerry collects Fiona's body, leaving several organs behind, and admits to Dr. Warren that he no longer takes his medication. He dismembers Fiona, storing her remains in numerous Tupperware containers, and her severed head begins talking to him, demanding he take his medication. Jerry does so, experiencing nightmares of his abusive father, and wakes up to find his hallucinations have ended: his pets and Fiona's decaying head no longer speak, and his apartment is covered in garbage, animal waste, and blood.

Jerry throws away his pills, prompting his hallucinations to return his life to "normal," and Fiona urges him to kill again to provide her with "a friend". He asks Lisa on a date, taking her to his abandoned childhood home to kill her. While he is there, he is overwhelmed by the memory of his mother's death. She was also schizophrenic, and when the authorities arrived to have her committed, she forced Jerry to slit her throat, leading him to be institutionalized instead. Comforting Jerry, Lisa kisses him, and he leaves his knife behind as she brings him home to spend the night together.

Fiona's remains are discovered in the woods, and she and the pets confront Jerry over his urges to kill and the fact that their voices are only in his head. Lisa surprises Jerry at home, discovering the horrifying state of his apartment and Fiona's head. He struggles to explain himself as she tries to escape. After breaking her neck, he curls up with Lisa as she lays dying. Jerry dismembers her and places her head in the fridge beside Fiona's.

When Jerry's coworkers realize Lisa is missing and find an article about his mother's death, Alison goes to his apartment. Jerry kills her, keeping her head with the others, but becomes overwhelmed by the voices. He confesses his killings to Dr. Warren before kidnapping her to the countryside, desperate for her help. She reassures him about managing her own intrusive thoughts, while Jerry's coworkers break into his apartment and call the police.

Jerry returns home with a captive Dr. Warren, and police surround the building. Climbing down a vent into the bowling alley, Jerry accidentally breaks a gas pipe. Dr. Warren is rescued just before the gas leak causes an explosion. In the burning bowling alley, the voice of Mr. Whiskers urges Jerry to escape and continue killing, but the voice of Bosco tells him that life no longer has a place for him, and Jerry succumbs to smoke inhalation, while Bosco and Mr. Whiskers are rescued and taken to an animal shelter.

In a white void, Mr. Whiskers and Bosco confess that, despite their opposing beliefs, they did like each other. In this white void, Jerry meets his parents, Fiona, Lisa, and Alison. Jerry apologizes to his victims as Jesus appears, and they all dance and sing a musical number together.



Before initial production, the script for The Voices received critical praise, including being listed on The Black List's Best UN-produced Screenplays of 2009.[7] The film originally had Mark Romanek attached to direct in 2010, with Ben Stiller attached to star, but was never made due to budget issues. The project was brought up again in August 2012, when it was announced that Marjane Satrapi would be directing.[8] When asked about having Reynolds perform all the voices Jerry hears in his head, Satrapi stated in an interview with Digital Spy, "At the beginning, the producer and myself said let's look for an actor, and then Ryan made the voices on his iPhone and he sent it over, and I was like, 'Who is that?' And suddenly it makes sense. That is the voices the guy hears, so who else but him can do it? It can only be him, so, yeah, it was an obvious choice."[9]

Principal photography began in April 2013 in Berlin, Germany.[10]


The film had its world premiere at the Sundance Film Festival on January 19, 2014.[11] On March 5, 2014, it was announced Lionsgate had acquired distribution rights to the film.[12] The film screened at the Toronto International Film Festival on September 11, 2014.[13] The film was then released on video on demand and in limited release on February 6, 2015. In its opening weekend, the film made $5,000.[4]

Critical reception[edit]

On Rotten Tomatoes, the film has an approval rating of 75% based on 99 reviews, with an average rating of 6.5/10. The website's critical consensus reads, "The Voices gives Ryan Reynolds an opportunity to deliver a highlight-reel performance—and offers an off-kilter treat for fans of black comedies."[14] On Metacritic, the film has a weighted average score of 58 out of 100, based on 24 critics, indicating "mixed or average reviews".[15]

Brad Wheeler of Canada's The Globe and Mail gave the film three out of four stars and stated, "Think of this stylish, quirky and quite grisly feature from Marjane Satrapi as a meeting of Psycho, Dexter and Dr. Dolittle."[16]

In 2020, Reynolds said of the film "One of my favorite movies I've ever done. Never really got its day in court, but man, it's weird and fun and beautiful."[17][18]

Awards and nominations[edit]

  • 20th annual L'Etrange Festival in Paris bestowed two awards on the film: the Canal+ Nouveau Genre Award (the festival's Grand Prize) and the equally prestigious Audience Award.[19]
  • 2015 Festival International du Film Fantastique de Gérardmer granted two more honors to the film: the Audience Award and the Jury Award.[20]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "'The Voices' Review: Ryan Reynolds Takes Advice From His Talking Pets". Variety. January 28, 2014. Retrieved June 25, 2021.
  2. ^ "The Voices (15)". British Board of Film Classification. February 2, 2015. Retrieved February 3, 2015.
  3. ^ Audrey (March 12, 2015). "[Interview] Rencontre avec Marjane Satrapi, réalisatrice de The Voices". GentleGeek. Retrieved April 11, 2018.
  4. ^ a b "The Voices (2014)". The Numbers. Retrieved January 24, 2016.
  5. ^ IndieWire (January 10, 2014). "Sundance 2014: World Cinema Dramatic Competition". IndieWire. Penske Business Media. Retrieved May 5, 2014.
  6. ^ Miska, Brad (January 6, 2015). "Lionsgate Hears 'The Voices' This February". Bloody Disgusting. Retrieved October 1, 2017.
  7. ^ Fischer, Russ (December 11, 2009). "The Black List 2009 The Years Best UN-produced Screenplays". /Film. Retrieved April 11, 2018.
  8. ^ Jagernauth, Kevin (August 7, 2012). "Persepolis' Director Marjane Satrapi Takes On 'The Voices' Formerly Linked To Mark Romanek & Ben Stiller". IndieWire. Los Angeles, California: Penske Business Media. Retrieved November 21, 2016.
  9. ^ Dibdin, Emma (March 18, 2015). "The Voices: Director Marjane Satrapi on casting Ryan Reynolds against type". Digital Spy. Hearst Magazines. Retrieved April 11, 2018.
  10. ^ Roxborough, Scott (April 23, 2013). "'Silver Linings' Actress Jacki Weaver Joins Marjane Satrapi's 'The Voices'". The Hollywood Reporter. Los Angeles, California: Valence Media. Retrieved July 15, 2013.
  11. ^ Sollosi, Mary (January 23, 2014). "Sundance Review: Ryan Reynolds Makes A Crazy Comeback Wit". IndieWire. Penske Business Media. Retrieved April 11, 2018.
  12. ^ Sneider, Jeff (March 5, 2014). "Ryan Reynolds' Sundance Thriller 'The Voices' Acquired by Lionsgate (Exclusive)". TheWrap. Retrieved April 11, 2018.
  13. ^ "Ryan Reynolds in The Voices: TIFF Review-Lainey Gossip Entertainment Update". Lainey Gossip. Lainey Gossip Entertainment. September 12, 2014. Retrieved October 1, 2017.
  14. ^ "The Voices (2015)". Rotten Tomatoes. Fandango Media. Retrieved August 9, 2022.
  15. ^ "The Voices Reviews". Metacritic. CBS Interactive. Retrieved April 29, 2020.
  16. ^ Wheeler, Brad (February 20, 2015). "The Voices: A black comedy mashup between Psycho, Dexter and Dr. Dolittle". The Globe and Mail. Retrieved November 21, 2016.
  17. ^ Ricci, Kimberly (April 1, 2020). "Ryan Reynolds Is Pondering One Of His Most Grueling Films During These Self-Isolating Times". Uproxx.
  18. ^ Reynolds, Ryan (March 31, 2020). "One of my favorite movies I've ever done. Never really got its day in court, but man, it's weird and fun and beautiful. #TheVoices". @VancityReynolds.
  19. ^ Croll, Ben (September 15, 2014). "L'Etrange 2014: THE VOICES Speaks To Voters At Festival's End". Screen Anarchy. Retrieved October 1, 2017.
  20. ^ "22e édition du Festival International du Film Fantastique de Gérardmer" (PDF). Festival international du film fantastique de Gérardmer. Archived from the original (PDF) on February 2, 2015. Retrieved October 1, 2017.

External links[edit]