A ghost story without a pulse or a perceptible purpose, “Voice From the Stone” strands its cast, led by “Game of Thrones” star Emilia Clarke, in an airless series of darkly lovely tableaux. The movie, set in the 1950s, revolves awkwardly around a grieving young boy, his cheerless father and the young nurse who enters the haunted world of their Tuscan castle.
Clarke plays Verena, untrained but with a knack for healing emotionally troubled children. At the grand estate where she’s just been hired, she struggles to connect with Jakob (Edward Dring), who hasn’t spoken since the death of his mother. She gets no help from the boy’s sculptor dad, Klaus (Marton Csokas), a cipher wrapped in a grimace. Only Lilia (Lisa Gastoni), an elegant older woman who lives in a remote corner of the castle, is welcoming.
Eric D. Howell, who has segued from stunts and special effects work to the director’s chair, conjures painterly scenes but none of the aimed-for mystery as Verena, drawn into the spell that grips Jakob, hears the voice that speaks to him from within the castle’s ancient walls. Audiences will hear only the strain in Andrew Shaw’s flat-footed adaptation of a novel by Silvio Raffo.
Howell’s inept pileup of would-be signifiers — a misty quarry, a family crypt, a philosophical beekeeper — gives way to frisson-free horror and unconvincing romance. Crucially missing is the emotional connective tissue that would turn this mannered museum piece into a drama.
‘Voice From the Stone’
Rating: R, for some sexuality/nudity
Running time: 1 hour, 30 minutes
Playing: Laemmle Monica Film Center, Santa Monica