How do you make a movie about sound engineering creepy? Brian De Palma, Francis Ford Coppola, and Florian Henckel von Donnersmarck have each succeeded in making aural surveillance and the act of listening suspenseful and exciting, and Peter Strickland looks to be following in their footsteps with Berberian Sound Studio, his second feature film. Regrettably, I missed the screening held at IFFBoston this year, but IFC has me- and everyone else- covered, as they’re going to release the Toby Jones horror vehicle next month. In the meantime, they’ve offered a trailer (the second one cut thus far) for our viewing consumption- have a look below.
If Berberian Sound Studio spent the whole of its run time forcing Toby Jones to record the splats and squishes made by chopping watermelons and other produce, it might be worth checking out on its own merits. But Strickland looks like he’s paying serious homage to Hammer-style horror films through his movie-within-the-movie, and coupled with the unsettling timbre of the footage here- not to mention the presence of Jones in the lead role- that ought to make for original and compelling stuff.
The film focuses on Gilderoy (Jones), a foley artist, as he works on the audio track for an Italian filmmaker’s horror picture; as time goes on, he slowly begins to lose his grip on reality as the disturbing nature of the material takes its toll on him. Eerie indeed. There’s no denying how effective this clip alone is, and that’s saying something since we have almost no context, just a series of images and a cacophony of various noises. Could be that Strickland has a winner on his hands, but we’ll have to wait until June 14th to find out.
What do you think? Does Berberian Sound Studio hold promise as a unique bit of contemporary horror?