DIRECTOR: Eric D. Howell
WRITER: Andrew Shaw
Verena is a young nurse who is sent to an isolated castle in Tuscany to help a mute young heir. As she begins to get to know Jakob, she soon discovers that something isn't right. Jakob believes that he can hear his dead mother through the walls of the castle. The longer that Verena stays at the residence, she begins to feel like she is being inflicted with the young boy's sickness and believes she can also hear voices inside of the walls.
Heading into Voice From The Stone, I had just come off of The Holly Kane Experiment and found that I had mistaken the movie for a horror film. I had planned on reviewing it for the blog, and while the film has elements of some suspense, I found that it was a drama more than anything else. So the next movie on my very long list of films that I needed to watch and review was Voice From The Stone. I watched the trailer again to make certain that this was more in line with what I tend to review on the blog and got myself settled in.
As the movie began, I was a little concerned as the film begins like an almost period drama. I thought I was two for two in mistaking this for a horror movie and I would have nothing to review. So I stayed with this one and trusted that the trailer wouldn't let me down as the vibe of the trailer feels quite suspenseful. Lucky for me, the film does slowly descend into a dark supernatural mystery and has the addition of ghosts, I was able to find that I had something to finally review. Is it worth visiting though?
Voice From The Stone is a very slow burn movie. This takes quite a bit of time to get to the creepier stuff in the film. This is not a film that will thrill a lot of genre fans. I think that the vision and tone of it feel very fractured. This is where I think the film will fall short for a lot of horror fans. It felt like the man behind the camera was here trying to keep this classy and award season ready and wanted to keep this as low on the horror spectrum as possible. In saying that, I haven't read the source material and this could follow the novel very closely in which case, I may have just wanted something scarier.
A big issue that I have with this movie is that it just doesn't feel very meaty on plot. Spending an hour and a half with a character who tends to just walk around a creepy old castle while trying to get through to a mute child, that's about it. This film doesn't feel like it does all that much. The third act of the film is where it starts to feel like it gives something more to the audience. I think this is due to the tonal shift into more supernatural territory. Things start to ramp up even if it feels a little anticlimactic.
The twist in the movie feels like a case of we've seen it all before. The twist has been done to death in the horror genre. It was made extremely popular by The Others, Stir Of Echoes and The Sixth Sense, this doesn't feel all that original. Once it hits, the only difference is that I think that Voice From The Stone ends on quite a dark note which I quite enjoyed. I think this will be a different experience for different people. Depends on how you interpret the ending. I liked that instead of this being a happy ending, we get a very sad end for our main character. It's played in a way that feels bittersweet, but if you imagine what the character goes through, she would have suffered.
When it comes to the cinematography, I think Voice From The Stone is just gorgeous. It has this very gothic aesthetic to it all. There are lots of stunning landscape shots. I loved the fog covered isolated Tuscan castle grounds. If there is one thing that I can't fault about this movie, it's how beautiful this film looks. After A Cure For Wellness, I was really surprised to watch a movie so quickly that caught my eye and delivered on the cinematography. Loved the look of this film.
Emilia Clarke is a fantastic actress. Ever since Game Of Thrones, I am glad to see her doing more and more films. I think this is the first time where I've seen her really let herself go and give us a role that feels a little bit rough around the edges. As it slowly goes on, her character falls sick, and she starts to lose her mind a bit. I enjoyed that as she begins to go crazy, it feels like she gave into the role. I think her performance felt very real and I think her character is one that you care for by the time we get to the third act. Her role was sincere.
Lastly, when it comes to being scary, I think Voice From The Stone is more about the atmosphere and mood than it is about scares. There are no loud noises or music cues to scares the audience. We don't have any typical horror movie tropes. I think this is a movie that tries to build all its eerieness from the gothic setting and I believe, for the most part, the third act really does successfully pull it off. This is not going to be The Conjuring by any means, but it's unsettling enough with its supernatural scares.
DEATH TOLL: 1
BLOOD AND GORE:
- A mother is seen bedridden and passes away.
- A bloody animal pelt is thrown at a mirror.
- A woman is encased in a wall while alive.
Voice From The Stone is a movie that feels pretty pedestrian. It's very middle of the road. Not bad but not groundbreaking either. The movie won't win any awards or be remembered come many end of year lists. With some solid performances, gorgeous cinematography and an eerie third act, Voice From The Stone is let down by a pretty predictable plot twist and a paper-thin plot. I'd still recommend that if you enjoy your supernatural films like The Others, you will probably find something to really enjoy in this movie.