Wait…what? Why you should(n’t) trust people in basements.

The Sound of My Voice
3 august 2012
Director: Zal Batmanglij
Starring: Christopher Denham, Nicole Vicius and Brit Marling.
Length: 1hr. 28 min.

I recently found it a good habit to go scoure the internet for films I wouldn’t usually watch. Disney Movies, Drama’s, and Indie movies. I found The Sound of My Voice somewhere and  it drew me into watching it.

It’s a film about two amateur documentary makers, both from different and difficult origins. They try to make a report about a cult that reveres a woman who claims she’s from the future, in a basement. They witness the odd micro culture that exists around this young woman, preparing for an apocalyptic scenario and having strange group therapy sessions.

The movie drops in you into a state of confusion at first when the couple gets to the cults basement. They don’t live there, most or all of them come there from the outside world. The white-clothed cult is quickly introduced and after a while, so is the woman from the future.

Supposedly, she comes from the year 2054, and has lost her memory soon after she found herself in 2010. She regained some of her memories and so her awareness that she’s from the future with the aid of her tattoos (an anchor and the number 54) and a couple of weird spiritual people, who now run the cult.

The style of the movie is quite typically indie. There’s no music, no spectacle and it focuses on cinematography and silent psychological moments with the main characters. This style fits the setting really well, you get drawn into this cult as much as the, at first, sceptic couple of documentary makers.


A few moments stood out for me. At one point, when you sympathize more with the male infiltrant, you start to think as him. It’s all a scam, the woman’s bullshitting and everyone believes her. Then, in the next therapy session, she supposedly ‘cracks’ him. She opens up a can of worms about the man’s past. Uncovering the relationship with his abusive grandfather. The man (Peter) starts to cry and joins in with the therapy session again. Even though Peter afterwards says to his documentary maker girlfriend Lorna that it was all fake, that he acted it, you start to believe in the future woman, Maggie more.

Later on, she asks for a child. Peter is a primary school teacher and Maggie somehow found out about it and took a liking to one girl. In the movie, you get glimpses of the girls life and you ask yourself what the relevance of that is. Maggie claims that the girl is her mother and that she needs to have her. Peter initially refuses, but does it later on when he had a fight with his girlfriend about uncovering her and how far they were willing to go for that.

Meanwhile, Lorna sets up a plan with the police to coincide with Maggie getting out into the open to meet the child.

Now, the meeting really turns things around. The whole movie you dance around the conclusion of Maggie’s reality. Is she really from the future? No, she can’t be.


When she meets the child, the child performs the secret handshake with Maggie, who she never has seen before and the handshake is the cult’s secret handshake. The child asks Maggie how she knows her secret handshake and she replies “You taught it to me”

And then she gets taken by the police and the movie ends. MIND. FUCKED.

[spoiler end]

All in all, the movie is calm and personal, but yet again exciting and mysterious with just a few rhythm and tempo issues. It’s a good movie, but not perfect.


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