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Arts and Entertainment

Ryan Reynolds Taps Into His 'Psycho' Side In Horror Comedy 'The Voices'

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When we think of Ryan Reynolds, we can't help but link the handsome actor to some flops as of late like The Green Lantern and RIPD. So, it's actually refreshing to see him take on a different type of role by tapping into his dark Norman Bates' side in the tonally wild, horror-comedy-thriller film, The Voices.

It's hard to actually pinpoint what genre The Voices falls into, which may send audiences on a rollercoaster of emotions and leave them feeling befuddled by the end in the "What did I just watch?" kind of way. The film, which is helmed by Persepolis' co-director Marjane Satrapi is equal parts a serial killer slasher film, a romantic comedy with the surreal charm of Lars and the Real Girl, and an inside look into someone who has the same psyche as Psycho's Bates.

In The Voices, we follow Reynold's character, Jerry, a socially awkward guy whose overly cheery disposition makes him the odd one out at the bathtub factory he works at in a small Midwestern town. At first we're rooting for the affable Jerry to finally fit in with his coworkers, snag a date with the self-absorbed office hottie with a British accent, Fiona (Gemma Arterton), and maybe even start to notice Lisa (played by the always charming Anna Kendrick), the woman from accounts payable who has a sweet crush on him.

However, Jerry harbors a dark secret in his lonely existence. When he comes home, he talks to his pets, who in his mind, talk back to him. They play good cop bad cop, with the evil tabby cat talking in a Scottish brogue, giving Jerry some of his darkest ideas, and his supportive dog who has a dopey American drawl and is constantly siding with Jerry. Reynolds voices these characters in the film, as well as the voice of a deer and a stuffed animal, which makes sense since these are all a part of his imagination. Reynolds shows a wide range of acting in this film, and is able to go from being a likeable guy to showing nuances in his growing creepiness. Jerry's court-appointed psychiatrist Dr. Warren (Jacki Weaver) keeps warning Jerry that he needs to take his meds for his schizophrenia or that she'll have to report him to authorities. But Jerry doesn't listen and that's when things quickly start to unravel—and get bloody like a slasher flick. He starts hacking women into pieces and keeps their heads in refrigerators and body parts stuffed in Tupperware. And just like that, we as an audience feel disturbed with ourselves that we ever rooted for him to begin with.

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We begin to realize that what we're seeing for most of the film is through the eyes of Jerry, and that he's not a reliable narrator for the story. We even question if things are as cheery as they seem, like how the workers at the factory all wear bubblegum pink jumpsuits, or that Jerry's apartment looks as clean and normal as it is. There are also the confusing flashbacks that show a mysterious sock puppet and bits and pieces of his relationship with his mother.

The shifts in tone are daring to say the least, and work at times and other times has us questioning what we're watching, which is distracting. Despite the uneven tonality, there are moments which make The Voices enjoyable—from Reynolds' multi-dimensional acting to some moments of witty banter. We're not sure if The Voices would have the cult following it seems like it's trying to achieve, but we can say for sure it's a unique, genre-bending film in its own right.

'The Voices' opens in select theaters and on demand today.