Berberian Sound Studio (2013)

berberian-sound-studio-posterThe world of sound awaits you!

When I saw the preview for this film I was hooked. I loved the premise and idea of this. So many movies forget, in order to be completely successful, it is important to hit on all the senses. A visual film focusing on sound is a rare treat.

Toby Jones (Infamous, The Girl) plays Gilderoy, an American who arrives in Italy for a job as a sound technician for a horror film; only, he doesn’t know it’s going to be for a horror film. There is something strange about this unconventional studio right off the bat. The staff is not very welcoming. They don’t seem to care for him, even with the high praise from the man who hired him. He has never done a film like this. He should be asking himself why he was hired for this job. But they don’t want him asking questions and they don’t want his opinion. They only want him to do the job that is asked of him. The repartee between all these characters is very interesting to watch. It’s pleasing to see a character driven film in the horror/suspense genre.

berberian sound studio gifThe horror movie they are creating within the movie is slowly revealed without showing any images. It’s about the torture of witches. Brutal and honest- no one has seen a horror movie like this before. I actually like that they don’t show any actual footage of the movie, leaving everything to the imagination, hearing these horrid sounds. The imagination is a powerful thing.

Squish-splat-splash-smash-tick-tock-knock-scream-stab. I just want to eat this movie, take it all in. Smashing melons and stabbing cabbage. I can’t look at vegetables the same way again. The scenes of decaying and veiny fruit are reminiscent of rotting flesh. Ok, so maybe I don’t want to eat that. But it is fascinating to learn about how sound was created in movies in the 1970’s.

I get the idea the filmmakers were trying to portray, unfortunately it falls very short. Gilderoy seems a like a very lonely man, and to be alone in a foreign country, would make it that much worse. With a project that never seems to end, watching horror scene after horror scene, it almost seems natural that Gilderoy would start to feel like he is going crazy from isolation from normality and engulfment in horror.

berberian sound studio gifThe film gets pretty trippy, blending reality and fiction. One cover image of the film gives you a good idea of what you are getting into. An image of a floating head with a footage reel tangled at the neck- a play on the unravelling of the character of Gilderoy. Too bad the last thirty minutes of this film is completely incomprehensible. Damnit. It was so good up until this point. I still suggest seeing this movie despite its downfall of a completely disappointing ending. This dark, psychological thriller is absorbing and stimulating, nonetheless.

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Berberian Sound Studio (2012) on IMDb

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