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DVD Review: House of Voices

House of Voices is boring. Very boring. Extremely boring. Yeah, yeah, I know, normally there's supposed to be an introductory paragraph or something telling at least a little about the film before going ahead and expressing an opinion, but this movie was so boring that I just had to tell you all right away, without any screwing around. This movie is flat-out boring. Okay, now that I've got that out of way, I'll get on with telling you about the film.

Set in the year 1958 in the French Alps, the movie opens in a creepy old orphanage that's gigantic, like as big as a castle. A little boy grabs a flashlight and heads to the bathroom, while a little girl tags along with him. The boy attempts to turn on a faucet for a drink of water, but none of the ones he tries will spit out any H2O. While he's doing this, she's telling him that it's the "scary kids" that like to mess with the faucets. Basically, she's talking about ghosts. Alrighty, so anyway he gets one to work, takes a sip, and they head off back to their community bedroom. But on the way back, he hears water start rushing out of the facets that he had tried earlier, so he goes back to turn them off while she just waits in the hallway.

House of Voices Once back inside the bathroom, he turns off the facets, but instead of leaving he heads over to a big mirror behind one of the giant sinks. Not really sure why... perhaps he thought he saw something in the mirror. Whatever the reason, he heads over to it, climbs up onto the edge of the giant sink to get a closer look, and then slips off, hits his head, and dies. The fall looked really painful, but enjoy it while you can 'cause that's about as exiting as the movie's gonna get. Anyway, so he dies, and as a result the orphanage gets closed down. All the kids are shipped off elsewhere, and our main character, Anna, comes aboard to help clean up the place... you know, so it can be abandoned properly. Wouldn't want to leave a dirty abandoned building laying around now would we?

House of Voices So once there, she meets Helenka, the current housekeeper/cook who has been there for many, many years, and they seem to hit it off rather quickly. She also meets Judith, a crazy orphan who seems to be about Anna's age. And that's pretty much the cast right there. So now Anna has to spend the rest of the movie becoming paranoid about the huge orphanage and hearing things and all that jazz. Then when some little kittens are murdered Anna is pushed over the edge and believes Helenka did it, so she stops talking to Helenka and convinces Judith to stop taking her medications so that she can "remember", and help reveal the secret of the orphanage.

House of Voices But speaking of secrets, the orphanage isn't the only one hiding things. Nope, Anna has a "secret" of her own... she's pregnant! Notice how I put the word in quotes? That's because it's pretty much obvious from the first time we see her. Yeah, sorry, but a long coat isn't going to make your belly flat. Then later we also see that she tries to hide it by wrapping a strip of cloth around her belly. Now, that might work on fat, but it's not gonna work on a baby. One thing I will say for the movie, they did a really job in making her look pregnant. There's this one shower scene where we see her completely nude, and in that shot her pregnancy looks absolutely real. I don't know if it was a prosthetic or CG, but whatever it was, it sure worked.

House of Voices The movie looks great, and the locations are genuinely creepy, making it even more of a shame that this film turned out so extremely boring. The voice dubbing was fantastically done, as I didn't even realize until later that it was originally filmed in the French tongue. The acting was well done too, though just having MORE actors would have been nice. Having the same three characters throughout the whole film was just so monotonous. The extra features on the disc include several deleted scenes and a making-of featurette. I watched all of the deleted scenes, hoping that one of them would add something to the story, but they didn't. The making-of featurette was like an hour long, and I just couldn't take anymore, so I skipped that. I might go back and watch it tonight, see if it adds any insight into the story, but only if there's nothing else on.

House of Voices is being released by Universal Studios Home Video on DVD starting October 18, 2005, and stars Virginie Ledoyen as Anna. It is also known as "Saint Ange". Check out the official website for more.

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