After visiting her father’s grave, Lilly (Valerie Jane Parker, the 2021 version of Wrong Turn) and her mother get into a car accident that leaves her blind and an orphan. As she struggles with the loss of her sight, she starts to hear voices and just thinks that it’s some form of synesthesia. The truth is that these voices are souls stuck in limbo looking for a way back into our world. And that way? Years later, it becomes Lily’s unborn child.
Voices is the first full-length film by director Nathaniel Nuon, working with writer Daniel Hathcock (they also have a film called Paralyzed in production). They also have some known faces in this film, like Ashley Bell (The Last Exorcism), Jordan Ladd (Cabin Fever) and Leslie Easterbrook (Sgt. Callahan from the Police Academy series).
Somewhere in this film is a great idea and a good film, but it struggles to emerge. The central conceit of a blind girl rising past a rough childhood and the voices that helped her deal with the loss of her sight becoming either demonic or cold cases left behind is a fantastic storytelling engine that a lot can be done with. Instead, this movie is never sure what movie it wants to be. Is it a drama with bits of the supernatural? Is it a false memory story? An exploration of growing up with a handicap? Or is it all of these things at the same time and unsure of itself?
I wanted to like this movie more than I did, so I’ll keep an eye out for Paralyzed and hope that the filmmakers will use this film — which trust me, has some worthwhile moments — as a learning experience. Judicious editing of twenty minutes or so would have gone a long way, too.
The Voices is now available online. You can learn more at the official site.