- The feature debut by Ángel Gómez is a deafening and exhausting horror flick that pilfers too many genre references without managing to find its own guttural hallmark
In Voces [+see also:
interview: Ángel Gómez
film profile], the feature debut by Ángel Gómez, it’s plain to see that the filmmaker has fuelled his own imagination by devouring a huge number of horror films. So much so that his first feature ends up being something akin to a DJ set made up of segments of classic, modern and timeless films that have sprung forth from a cinematic genre with enough fans to pack out various stadiums. However, it’s also one of the most risky and slippery genres if the narrative elements are neglected when it comes to turning them into a story that will grip and frighten the audience – and, above all, give a believable result.
While watching Voces, film buffs cannot help but recognise the aforementioned references, which range from Don’t Look Now by Nicolas Roeg to Candyman, via the haunted-house sub-genre, taking in everything from Poltergeist to the Spanish hit The Orphanage [+see also:
film profile] by Juan Antonio Bayona. Admittedly, Gómez does employ these influences skilfully and at a decent pace, and it can even be an entertaining incentive for the viewer to try and sniff them out, but… should they constitute the film’s sole backbone?
Voces – the screenplay for which was written by Santiago Díaz, based on a storyline by Gómez and Víctor Gado – unfolds in a mansion that, going purely by its appearance, many people would never even set foot in. But, as dictated by this genre, impulsiveness inevitably has to be one of the weaknesses of the main family in the story, who risk their lives to live (or just survive) in this abode, despite the existence of an obvious hazard that they don’t take appropriate measures to avoid. And, of course, the tragedy that we all knew was coming right from the start actually strikes…
From that point on, the series of horrific situations ramps up and reaches a crescendo, and Voces ends up deafened by its overambition, an incontinent gush of drama and a stilted sensationalism that eclipses its psychological subtext. All of this turns the movie into a descent into the bowels of a house of horror, from which the viewer emerges unable to shake off the feeling that he or she has been unsettled but not – profoundly – stimulated.
Voces was produced by Feelgood Media (Juan Moreno and Guillermo Sempere), Kowalski Films (Koldo Zuazua), LaNube (Jose Carmona and Ana Figueroa) and Estudio V (Arantxa Domingo, Roberto Sanz and Ángel Gómez himself). It saw the involvement of Radio Televisión Española (RTVE) and Canal Sur Televisión. Its international rights have been acquired by Film Factory Entertainment, it secured backing from the Ministry of Culture – ICAA, and it comes out in Spanish movie theatres on 24 July, courtesy of Entertainment One.
(Translated from Spanish)
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