Director: Eric D. Howell
Writer: Andrew Shaw
Stars: Emilia Clarke, Marton Csokas, Edward Dring, Caterina Murino
Based on Silvio Raffo’s novel, Voice From the Stone is a pleasant departure from jump-scare laden
ghost stories of late. Director Eric D. Howell delivers a heart-wrenching, gothic romance, adding just enough supernatural content to veer into horror territory without becoming mundane.
Emilia Clarke stars as Verena, a young nurse whose specialty is working with children who have suffered serious trauma. She is a compassionate soul who endears herself to those she helps, exuding a confidence in her ability to rehabilitate children, but lacking a certain personal self-worth. Verena is called upon to help Jakob (Edward Dring), who hasn’t spoken since the death of his mother, Malvina (Caterina Murino), nearly eight months earlier. Malvina’s untimely death has not only impacted the life of Jakob, but that of her still grieving husband, Klaus (Marton Csokas), an artist and sculptor, who has been unable to work since the loss. Verena will discover that Jakob’s lack of speech is compounded by the idea he can hear his mother speaking to him through the stone walls of their estate. An idea immediately rejected by Verena, but one that will eventually consume her.
It’s worth pointing out, although both Clarke and Csokas are wonderful in their respective adult roles, the standout is clearly Edward Dring, who says less than ten words in the entire film, but conveys a myriad of emotions through his face and body language.
Set in 1950s Tuscany, the often foggy landscape and muted color palette complements the dreary mood, but as the film progresses and the characters develop, beautiful splashes of color appear. Bright, azure blues are introduced as Verena begins to open herself up, with warm, radiant hues representing the deepening relationships of the three main characters. The Othersand Crimson Peak, this should appeal to you.
Accompanied by a haunting score, Voice moves at a calculated pace, but it never lags during its 94 minute run-time. To call this a slow-burn would not be entirely accurate, although the last 15 minutes of the film are very emotional. There isn’t anything particularly new or original here, but there is just enough misdirection for you to question what is happening. If you’re a fan of films like The Others and Crimson Peak then this could be for you.
Voice From the Stone opens in the US, theatrically and on demand, on April 28th.
Suzanne Bell | Twitter: @ChazensJezebel