'The Voices' speaks, albeit weakly, to fans of serial-killer films

Although 'Voices' may speak to fans of serial-killer films, the well-made film ultimately has little to say

If you're burning to feel something beyond reactionary horror (or fatigue) for that pop culture mainstay, the serial killer, the arty tonal mash-up "The Voices" begs your consideration.

Introduced as the cheeriest employee in the bathtub factory, Jerry (Ryan Reynolds) wants nothing more than to be normal: He works hard, sees his therapist (Jacki Weaver), shyly socializes with the office gals (Gemma Arterton, Anna Kendrick) and does his best to ignore the evil proddings of his Scottish-accented cat (voiced by Reynolds). That's "does his best," mind you.

One murder after another gets in the way, and if Jerry never quite knows how to behave while off or on his meds, "The Voices" is similarly split over finding his predicament blackly funny or, when delving into Jerry's terrible past, genuinely tragic. (Mostly it's just sickening.)

Iranian-born author-artist Marjane Satrapi ("Persepolis"), working from a script by crime-procedural TV vet Michael Perry, gamely mines her graphic novel sensibility, toggling between Jerry's fantasy of his environment (clean, orderly, candy-colored) and the reality seen by others (stained, dark, worrisome).

She's also got a willing partner in Reynolds, occasionally effective in the overlap of man-boy charm and cornered psycho. But the big question here is why any of "The Voices," as crisply made and stylish as it is, should matter or entertain. The cold truth is that it doesn't.

"The Voices."

Running time: 1 hour, 40 minutes.

MPAA rating: R for bloody violence, language including sexual references.

Playing: AMC Universal Citywalk Stadium 19.

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