The hardest thing with so many of these found footage movies I am realizing is that, as sincere and well intentioned as many of these films may well be, that’s just not enough to make them ‘good’ movies. And by good here I mean successful.
GOOD is a relative term.
I love PLENTY of ‘bad’ movies, or rather movies that many would deem as not good.
We all do.
The problem is when a film isn’t successful in its aims. You have seen them, we all have. When you are making your movie you have an aim of some sort and the closer you get to capturing what you were aiming for, then the better it is.
Come on, friend.
Let’s go check out DEAD VOICES.
DEAD VOICES brings us into the world of two sisters who are working on making a documentary about psychic phenomena, specifically in regards to the apparent death of one of the sisters’ ex-boyfriends, who died in war. The sisters have differing views on this documentary, the one suffering the loss intent on finding the truth and her sister only doing it for a lark. The two contact a psychic who tries to contact the lost boyfriend but only manages to give them a warning not to go somewhere, though he isn’t sure where. Deciding the man is a fraud, they turn to another psychic who one of the sisters met online. This time the man seems to connect with the lost ex and finds out that there is more to the story of his death than they know, and that the only way they can get to truth of it all is to head to an old cabin that the ex and the sister used to go to. The psychic suddenly starts to lose control and has to leave suddenly. The sisters decide to go to this cabin in the hopes of finding answers, the psychic promising to go with them in case he can pick anything up from the place. What the two sisters don’t realize though is that, one way or another, they are about to find out far more than they would ever want to know.
OK, here we go.
The acting is generally pretty good. There aren’t any moments that pull you out of the film and make you roll your eyes because of a performance. The film is really well made with the use of decent equipment and an adherence to the notion that this is all being shot by people live, and not with a soundtrack. The setting is pretty good too, with a creepy cabin in the woods being the perfect go-to for a movie of this sort.
The thing is, the movie just doesn’t work.
The tone is weird, with the sisters being jokey and weird early on then dead serious later and it makes for a strange mix. The film has a twist that absolutely didn’t work for me. It felt forced and disingenuous to what they were trying to do. Worse, the way it goes down is sorta…gross? I can’t get into it more than that without spoilers, but it just felt like a gross twist to pull. The actions of the sisters makes less and less sense as the film goes on. One disappears in the woods and the other just sorta shrugs it off and goes off to bone the psychic. It’s a weird plot device that doesn’t really work and it’s where the movie starts to really go off the rails.
There are a lot of ‘moments’ that don’t make a ton of sense in the climax.
They go for it, so good for them on sticking to what they wanted to do with the film, but it definitely didn’t work for me.
A lot of the climax feels gross and a big reason for that is a cup of a sort of incel mindset that falls into the recipe that’s been created with the film. I doubt it was intentional but it still takes you out of the film.
I won’t say this is a bad film because it’s not. It may not work for me, but it’s well made. I just don’t like where it starts and where it goes. I don’t agree with the trajectory of the film. I give them kudos for the twist, but just wish it made more sense. My wife pointed out a plot point that makes a difference in the film that needed to be better fleshed out to take away one of the big questions I had. I will give them credit as well for making a found footage movie that is not a mimic of what else is out there. It’s not the most original per se but it’s definitely not aping twelve other movies and that’s saying something.
1.75 out of 5