DEAD VOICES *** USA 2020 Dir: William Butler. 80 mins
This found footage movie begins with a special news bulletin reporting the disappearance of two sisters. Emily (Lauren Albo) and Sara (Angelica Briones) were recording a documentary on Lucas (Jack Buckley), he was Sara’s ex fiance, his team was apparently killed in action in a warzone yet his body was never recovered. With the footage that was found of the sisters they had discovered a medium that they thought was legit and had enlisted him to help them find out if Lucas was dead or alive. After going through a few mediums they dubbed frauds they follow a lead from someone they believe to be genuine. Mike (Jacob Kyle Young) meets them at a cabin that belonged to Lucas’ family and tries to help them piece together what happened and find them the answers they are after or so the girls believe anyway. In reality Mike takes the girls on a twisted trip of mind games, deceit and revenge ending in tragedy. Lucky for us it was all caught on camera.
I think its great that movies like The Blair Witch Project influenced so many filmmakers to have a go themselves. Director William Butler and writer Jacob Kyle Young have done a pretty good job with DEAD VOICES even if it’s not exactly a direct copy it certainly borrows the main elements. It starts off quite well and does succeed with some effective creepy moments, sounds and the shaky cam work here is relatively minimal. The acting is fairly proficient from everyone with a random and incredibly small role and appearance from Lochlyn Monro. The characters are fairly relatable but there is an awful lot of screaming and hyper ventilating which gets annoying very quickly but I’ve got to hand it to them they certainly gave it their all!
DEAD VOICES does turn out to be one big experiment in misdirection and the supernatural element is only implied as it goes off in another direction entirely which I enjoyed. The downsides to this are that it ran a little flat at times and had plenty of slack moments that could have been cut but above that the main issue for me was the huge found footage cliche they used several times over. For example they run around the woods a hell of a lot and it gets lamer the more times they do it. At one point after a spell around the woods they decide they have to “go… right now” so they go back to the cabin to get ready to go but instead they hang around a bit and one of them even goes to bed (??!), oh, then they go for another run around the woods… not their finest moment. It’s definitely a bit of a mixed bag and doesn’t have the most favourable of reviews on IMdb but for me the good bits out weigh the bad and I found it a pretty good watch.
Review by Sarah Budd