Thursday, 30 August 2012

Frightfest 2012: Berbarian Sound Studio

Gilderoy (Toby Jones) is a sound engineer from England, who has spent his working life capturing the sound of wildlife in his hometown. For unknown reasons an Italian movie director requests Gilderoy travels to Italy to work on the sound effects of his latest movie. Out of his depth, and in an alien country, Gilderoy struggles to adapt to the Italian way of thinking, and battles to get his head round the strange circumstances in the sound studio. As the recording of the soundtrack, to director Santini’s (Antonia Mancino) horror movie continues, a combination of the sounds, and the imagery starts to affect the way Gilderoy thinks. 

If ever a movie has a claustrophobic feel its this, set pretty much entirely in one location, you very quickly get the feeling that there is nowhere to escape in this dark, atmospheric, psychological thriller.

The Berbarian Sound Studio is an unique and interesting look at the sound effects editor, it spends a lot of time focusing on what noises make what effect, making the movie an absolute must for anyone with a passion for film-making.

Sitting firmly in the category of horror, Berbarian Sound Studio is a million miles away from the traditional horror tale, there are no graphic scenes, no hauntings, psychopathic killers, or torture porn; in fact this movie sits in a sub-category of its own, it is entirely unique, and nothing like you will have scene before. While it has its heart in the Italian horror/Giallo arena, the movie has a definite ring of David Lynch about it.

Director Peter Strickland spent a lot of time studying the classic Italian Giallo, in order to get the feel for this area, and he has done a miraculous job of creating the feel of the Giallo, and has harnessed the sound too, courtesy of the now defunct Broadcast (sadly due to bereavement).

There is a downside to Berbarian Sound Studio, and that is quite simply that I have yet to encounter anyone who gets it. As events take a hold of Gilderoy, and the story takes a head scratching turn, I found myself (others found themselves in the same situation) wondering quite what they missed, how the story had taken such a turn, and exactly what on earth was happening. I for one certainly felt there was a gap in my education, and to be honest with hundreds of Giallo’s and thousands of horror movies under my belt, in the latter twenty minutes I had absolutely no clue what was going on, or what sort of story was being portrayed.

Putting the above paragraph aside, even though I never got it, this is a really quite unique and enjoyable movie, it’s a ballsy, eye opening, often very funny feature, with lots of disturbing behavior to put a unique spin on things.  If your up for a little bit of weirdness this year, then make this the movie to fill that void, but please if you get it, be sure to explain it to me.

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