Voices Movie Review: Hear No Evil (And Very Little Ashley Bell)
When I heard about the new horror film Voices, I was sold right away. The premise seemed interesting enough, but what really got my attention was the appearance of Ashley Bell. I once compared her to a dang Andrew Wyeth painting (in my piece on social distancing horror movies), so suffice it to say, I’m pretty firmly a member of Ashley Bell Hive. Well, spoiler alert, she’s in the movie for like, one minute. But what about the other 107 minutes? To find out, here’s my review of the movie Voices.
This Is The Voice–Wait, No: Differentiating It from Other Films
First of all, some places are billing it as The Voices, which was its original title. However, since IMDB is now listing it as simply Voices, I’m going with that. If I’m wrong, then you’ll never know, because I’ll change it. But for now, this is how it’s going to be.
Second of all, perhaps what prompted the name change is the existence of a film from last year with the same title. This is not 2020’s The Voices, also a horror film, which stars Lin Shaye. It is also not 2020’s The Call, a horror film starring…Lin Shaye. And it is definitely not your mom’s favorite show, The Voice. Got it? Good.
So What Is This Voices Movie About?
image via Vertical Entertainment
Little Lilly (Chloe Romanski) and her mom (‘sup, Ashley Bell) are returning from visiting Lilly’s father’s grave when they get into a car accident. It’s a terrible one that leaves Lilly both an orphan and without her eyesight. Her aunt Becca (Jordan Ladd) then raises her, keeping her protected from a world that can sometimes be scary.
Lilly grows into a strong, capable woman (Valerie Jane Parker) who’s married to her high school sweetheart William (Jonathan Stoddard). She works as a therapist and they have a pretty good life. Uh, except for the fact that she hears dead people.
Despite the weirdness of that, Lilly’s pretty much accepted it. But as she and William conceive a child, the voices become more insistent. A patient (Jo Ann Olivera) explains that the voices she hears are souls who want to be reborn through Lilly’s baby. She has until her baby’s first heartbeat to pick a soul, or else something will decide for her.
Not all of the voices are threatening, though. She spends time with one, the spirit of a little girl, Madison (Claire Marie Burton), whom Lilly knew when the girl was alive. Something bad happened to her, though, and the precise circumstances of Madison’s death may also threaten Lilly’s peaceful life.
Voices Movie Review
image via Vertical Entertainment
For most of its (too long) runtime, I actually liked the movie. It functions more as a character study with a hint of darkness than anything else. And if it had kept to that, then I think it would have been a lot more successful. However, this is a movie that insists it’s a horror, so it takes a wild turn toward that in the last part of the film. That isn’t successful.
I could forgive the clunky special effects if it led to something good. Or something scary. However, everything is so muddled at the end that I’m not even sure I understand it. What does it mean, exactly? (If you see it, then please explain it to me.)
The biggest issue with this movie, though, is that it’s not sure what kind of movie it is. It tries to be multiple movies at once–an uplifting drama, a ghost story, whatever that was at the end–and as such, doesn’t tie its disparate threads together in a satisfying way. I think there’s a good movie in this movie, but it’s weighed down by too much story and sluggish pacing. Had they whittled it down a bit, made a sharper and more suspenseful film, then my voice would have been a little more positive.
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featured image via Vertical Entertainment
Salomé Gonstad is a freelance writer who grew up in the swampy wilds of south Alabama. When she's not yelling about pop culture on the internet, she's working on a supernatural thriller about her hometown. Also, we're pretty sure she's a werewolf. Email her at [email protected]