Letting go of someone you loved is often that of a personal journey, despite perhaps the helping hands of many who offer their support, yet with the passing of a parent, particularly that of a mother, a young child may even be more tormented. Dealing with grief is a concept that has been explored thoroughly throughout the age of cinema, as well as the exploration of the unknown, which both collide in the psychological thriller Voice From The Stone, based on Silvio Raffo’s novel of the same name. Set within the foggy landscapes and creepy homesteads that have become a staple in these types of movies, this is a dark, slow-burning mystery that offers intriguing atmosphere and solid performances, but only ends up becoming a disappointingly average affair.
The problem is that this film doesn’t grip with quite the hold it should’ve had, and only ends up missing out on all the opportunities to make most of its concepts and themes. Directed by Eric D. Howell and written by Andrew Shaw, this is a purposeful paced story that’s less about the spirits of a dead mother and more about the relationships that are formed or torn apart as a result of the loss. As our central protagonist, Verena (played by Game of Thrones’ Emilia Clarke), comes to be seduced by the voices seemingly coming from within the walls and she lets go of her scepticism, as well as her inhibitions since learning that she bears resemblance to the deceased mother of the child she’s been instructed to look after.
Even though the initial concept is compelling enough and the actors are clearly trying their best to make do with what’s given to them, there is very little momentum to drive the story forward, and that has to do with the overall execution being very pedestrian. The first two thirds are very slow since all we see is Verena stumbling about in confusion, her ear pressed to a wall or a rock as the young Jacob stares at her in silence, and the father drawing nearer to the point of wanting to craft a nude sculpture of her. By the time we get to the third act, a dark turn of events ensue and the story takes a huge shift into something altogether more different than what has gone on before, and it’s almost as if Howell and Shaw succumbed to generic psychological horror tropes, and as a result, it just makes the film very inconsistent in tone and narrative structure.
Poor Emilia Clarke seems to have this bad luck of appearing in movies that have ranged from mediocre to downright bad, like Dom Hemingway, Terminator: Genisys and Me Before You; now, you can add Voice From The Stone to the pile. This is a mixed bag of a film that benefits from having a strong, brooding, foreboding atmospheric look to it, as well as some neat ideas, but there are lapses in cohesion and we never once feel any attachment or connection with any of the central characters, and if we can’t find them engaging, then you can’t find the movie engaging. Hopefully Emilia Clarke will find the perfect movie in the future, but unfortunately, this isn’t it.
VOICE FROM THE STONE / CERT: 15 / DIRECTOR: ERIC D. HOWELL / SCREENPLAY: ANDREW SHAW / STARRING: EMILIA CLARKE, MARTON CSOKAS, CATERINA MURINO / RELEASE DATE: 28TH AUGUST