Grace (Amanda Markowitz) is a young, brilliant psychology student. She’s recently broken up with her fiance David (Brendan Sexton III) after brutal infidelity. She decides to take a break and spend some time with her older sister, Catherine (Victoria Matlock), at their family cabin. It’s remote, it’s comforting and familiar, and she needs the support and love of her big sister. It’ll be the perfect place to relax and recover. Or, that’s certainly how things seem, but a run-in with a mysterious stranger (Lin Shaye) is the first clue that something is very off in the new film THE VOICES.
Catherine is cold, distant, almost unloving. She is strict with Grace, maintains bizarre hours, and serves Grace almost immediately with a set of rules about her stay at the house. It isn’t until Grace hears Catherine talking to herself – using different voices and personalities – that she realizes that something is wrong. Catherine and Grace’s mother suffered from paranoid schizophrenia, and Grace sees the warning signs right away. She begins a video journal about Catherine, and begins writing about her for her thesis – not without questioning the ethics – but soon realizes that the issues she’s facing are much bigger than a paper for a college class.
Catherine reveals her truth to Grace over a nostalgic game with the spirit board. Just like old times, the old days when Catherine would move the planchette (she admits) to frighten Grace. Only this time it isn’t clear exactly who is in charge of the board, and it begins to reveal things that are a little too real… including that Grace is pregnant. Catherine panics – her symptoms set in after her daughter was born. She doesn’t want the same torturous pain for Grace, especially as her illness eventually pushed her ex-husband to take her daughter, and for her to be isolated in this cabin alone. But maybe she isn’t alone, and neither is Grace.
THE VOICES is a brilliant, bold ride through horrors within and without. A perfect atmosphere, a brilliant cast, an intricate storyline, and absolutely frightening surprises at every turn. I love a movie that puts you on the edge of your seat. I love a movie that you can’t anticipate. THE VOICES never telegraphs or gives anything away, and in a refreshing change, actually allows the viewer to put pieces together and recognize patterns. We are never spoken down to, we never have our hands held. We are just allowed to walk alongside Grace as she puts together the horrifying puzzle.
As always, and it nearly goes without saying, Lin Shaye is mind blowingly good. But in a show of grace (no pun intended), she does not upstage or overplay her counterparts. Instead she supports them perfectly and allows them to shine. Both Markowitz and Matlock give award worthy performances, absolutely stunning in their stillness, and in their insanity, Both women have immense story arcs to accomplish and do so with power and talent the likes of which are rare even in the most seasoned of actors.
The scares of THE VOICES are simultaneously unique and familiar, paying homage to some horror greats without outright stealing from any of them. The atmosphere of an isolated cabin in the woods is just the beginning of the familiar pieces of this puzzle, but even so I found myself surprised by some of the unique ways these familiar pieces can fit together. THE VOICES packs psychological terror and the paranormal into a film worth remembering and revisiting for years to come.
|Runtime:||1 hr 26Mins.|
Wesley Alley and Bradley Fowler