Thursday, November 8, 2012

Movie Review: Sound of My Voice

Runtime: 85 minutes
Rating: R
Release Date: April 27, 2012
Director: Zal Batmanglij

Peter (Christopher Denham) is a teacher working on a project with his girlfriend Lorna (Nicole Vicius). The two heard about a cult that centers on a young woman named Maggie (Brit Marling) who claims that she is from the future, 2054 to be exact. When Sound of My Voice opens, the two have already made a connection with the group. The cult makes them take a shower and change their clothes before blindfolding them and taking them to Maggie.

Maggie tells her followers that the future is a bleak and dark place. She constantly tests them, claiming that they need to be strong to handle what’s coming. She has each member make themselves throw up after feeding them because people in the future have less food. Lorna quickly gets caught up in her story and begins believing that everything Maggie says is the truth, while Peter serves as the voice of reason.

Peter worries about his girlfriend and constantly pushes her with the truth. He points out that Maggie doesn’t give any specifics and cannot verify her claims. When Maggie pushes him about his own home life and his mother in particular, he caves and cries in her arms. He later snaps out of it, telling Lorna that Maggie did the same thing that all cult leaders do. Instead of making any specific claims, she simply asked him questions until she found which buttons to push.

Lorna finds herself on the opposite side when she goes for a hike with one of the cult members. The woman takes her into the middle of nowhere and pulls out a gun before showing her out to shoot. Just as Lorna begins doubting, Peter finds himself caught in Maggie’s trap. When she asks him to kidnap one of the children in his class, the film takes an even darker turn.

I saw a trailer for Sound of My Voice a few months ago and found it fascinating. I left myself a note in my phone to find it when it came out on DVD, but I completely missed it coming out until this week. I decided to add it to the blog because it has a darker theme that kind of fits in the world of horror.

The world of cults is interesting, and this film definitely shows the dark side of things. When one man begins questioning her, she immediately has him banned. His wife/girlfriend watches as he leaves and though he begs her to go with him, she just shakes her head and says that she believes in Maggie. It’s one of those movies that makes you think.

Why do these people believe in her? She tells them that she woke up naked in a bathtub filled with water and was thrown out on the street. One of her followers found her and knew she was from the future because she had an anchor and the number 54 tattooed on her ankle. After a few weeks, she “suddenly” remembered who she was.

The followers believe her no matter what. At one point, she proves that she’s from the future by singing a song from The Cranberries, and only one man has the guts to tell her that it’s a song from the past, which she explains away by saying that it was famous by another artist in her time. They even believe that she can only eat organic foods grown in the garage and that she cannot handle anytime outside because of the toxins in our air, despite the fact that she even admits to wandering the streets on her own after waking in the tub.

It’s hard to explain what makes Sound of My Voice so powerful. It ends on an ambiguous note, leaving it up to the viewer to decide what actually happened. If the proposed sequel comes along, I guess we will get answers to some of our questions.

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