How does an actress sidestep being cast as the cute blonde in horror movies? In 28-year-old Brit Marling’s case, by writing her roles. In ‘Sound of My Voice’, an insidiously creepy drama made for virtually nothing, she plays Maggie, the leader of a no-frills cult, whose dozen or so followers meet in a shabby Californian house. Maggie preaches to them hooked up to an oxygen tank, shrouded in white.
Recent recruits Peter (Christopher Denham) and Lorna (Nicole Vicius), an aimless couple in their late twenties, have an ulterior motive: to expose Maggie and launch themselves as journalists. Is Maggie a messiah or a fraud? Marling plays it brilliantly – keeping us guessing till the end: at times she’s as harmless as a yoga teacher; at others she shows the charismatic self-conviction and menace of Charles Manson. As a thriller, ‘Sound of My Voice’ tails off and its budget shows. But for Marling it’s an impressive calling card.