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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Creepy and a little strange
This is a strange film and a pretty decent horror to boot. An English sound engineer travels to Italy to work on a disturbing horror movie. He doesn't realise it's a horror film he's working on until he gets there and finds himself being drawn into the violence that he's recreating.

The film is well paced with a gradual ramping up of tension and towards the...
Published 12 months ago by M. Brookes

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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Another missed opportunity
I bought this film on reading a review in the radio times on missing it on the telly.I prefer small budget films opposed to the bigger lavish productions as i feel the soul and hard work are more evident on the small scale films. But i should have known in buying films in the past that i am easily disappointed in such films as they lack a good ending or something else...
Published 10 months ago by Mr. S. C. Barrett


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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Another missed opportunity, 28 Nov 2013
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This review is from: Berberian Sound Studio [DVD] (DVD)
I bought this film on reading a review in the radio times on missing it on the telly.I prefer small budget films opposed to the bigger lavish productions as i feel the soul and hard work are more evident on the small scale films. But i should have known in buying films in the past that i am easily disappointed in such films as they lack a good ending or something else. Toby jones is perfectly cast here & all the other actors & actresses are good as well. The real problem with this film is that it should of gone on another 20 minutes or so to give the film a deserving proper outcome. I loved guildroy but i needed to see him suffer real paranoia & fear. I needed him to bear his soul to the camera.But like so many so called "art house", "low budget masterpieces" before it, it simply falls short and i'm once again left feeling disappointed.On a more positive note there are some real touches of genius in this film. The scene where one of guildroy's nightmares morphs into his lovingly crafted Box hill nature short is just brilliant & toby jones as a whole is really wonderful in the part, it just needs more as a film. It needs to take us closer to the edge of our seats & our minds. It's like they all ran away & thought it's not a serious film anyway let's just end it like this. That's too easy.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Creepy and a little strange, 19 Oct 2013
By 
M. Brookes - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Berberian Sound Studio [Blu-ray] (Blu-ray)
This is a strange film and a pretty decent horror to boot. An English sound engineer travels to Italy to work on a disturbing horror movie. He doesn't realise it's a horror film he's working on until he gets there and finds himself being drawn into the violence that he's recreating.

The film is well paced with a gradual ramping up of tension and towards the end it gets gets very strange. As well as being an entertaining story it's also an interesting watch. His job is to recreate the sounds of various nasty scenes, the techniques he uses to achieve these make for an interesting watch in themselves.

Another aspect I enjoyed was the lack of shock or visual horror, apart from a few glimpses it's all in the audio and not in a surprise fashion, in places it is downright creepy, which always get's my vote! In summary this is a decent horror watch, and something a little different from the usual tropes.
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40 of 44 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars I could go on and on, there is so much to admire in `Berberian Sound Studio', I can't wait to see it again., 6 Sep 2012
This review is from: Berberian Sound Studio [DVD] (DVD)
`Berberian Sound Studio' is set in 1970′s Rome, Italy. The studio is working on a new film called `The Equestrian Vortex'. The films director Santini (Antonio Mancino) hires Gilderoy (Toby Jones), an English sound engineer who had previously worked on children's television programmes and natural history documentaries.

Gilderoy assumes that the Italian film was about horses, but when he is greeted by the films producer Francesco (Cosimo Fusco) he discovers that the film is actually a horror movie. With typically English stiff upper lip, Gilderoy dives into an environment completely alien to him. Clearly out of his depth, he's further unnerved by working in a new country with no grasp of Italian. Gilderoy is manipulated by everyone, from the utterly serious Francesco to the lecherous Santini, and even by the moody secretary Elena (Tonia Sotiropoulou).

But Gilderoy knows one thing very well, and that is sound. At the mixing desk, he reigns supreme. He watches over and controls the voices of the actresses Claudia (Eugenia Caruso) and Elisa (Chiara D'Anna) who provide the dialogue and countless screams; the assistants who simulate the violence on screen by slashing and whacking all manner of fruit and vegetables; and creating many of the sounds himself from his own vast repertoire. You appreciate the sound engineers craft from Gilderoy's numerous charts, his maps of how sounds and effects will be layed over the visuals.

Gilderoy clearly relishes his new environment, but equally appalled by it. The uncomfortable subject matter inevitably proves too much for this mild mannered sound engineer, a scene involving a red hot poker and a nun providing the psychological catalyst to his own breakdown. Fantasy bleeds into reality, sounds and dreams blur into each other to form a paranoid nightmare.

`Berberian sound studio' is a very clever film, the workings of a films production is focused through the ears and eyes of a sound engineer. Much of the film is quietly dark and darkly comical, you won't tire of listening to watermelons being slashed and twisted and radish's snapped, or watching actors making peculiar facial expressions to make even stranger noises. The claustrophobia of working and sleeping in the studio brilliantly feeds into Gilderoys state of mind, the ever dependable Jones giving yet another fine performance.

Sound is at the heart of the film, from its production to recording and mixing. Gilderoy harks back to a golden age in British television and film with the the pioneering special effects works of Delia Derbyshire, Daphne Oram et al for the BBC Radiophonic Workshop. Their sound experiments helped to shape modern electronic music and are still revered by musicians, its a fitting tribute to see their experiments' influence in this film.

The opening sequence which introduces you to the `The Equestrian Vortex' is one of the most startling opening scenes i've ever seen, a superb amalgam of sound and visuals. You never get to see any of the actual horror film, but you still feel you are watching it through listening to the dialogue and sound effects of the production. Its a clever manipulation, further still by seeing the violence within the horror film through Gilderoys eyes.

Director Peter Strickland doesn't just concentrate on the analogue sound of the 70′s but pays a great homage to many films of the time, not least the Italian Giallo films which `The Equestrian Vortex' is based upon and made famous by the likes of Dario Argento, Mario Bava and Lucio Fulci. With so many sound and visual markers, so much attention to detail, its quite amazing that you are never overwhelmed by this film. Such is Stricklands skill, he even gets the name of a fictional film right, `The Equestrian Vortex' is a fantastic name for any film. I could go on and on, there is so much to admire in `Berberian Sound Studio', I can't wait to see it again.

Rating: 9/10
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Very atmospheric, unusual, loved it!, 7 Mar 2013
By 
Mr. S. Booth (London) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Berberian Sound Studio [Blu-ray] (Blu-ray)
As someone who is a big fan of horror, and British, Im always interested in new British horror films. This film caught my attention because it is set aganist a backdrop of 70s Italian gore horror, referencing the style of directors like Dario Argento and Lucio Fulci, both of whom I really like. The story is about a talented English sound engineer, with no experience of horror films, who is employed to work on a very gory horror film being made in italy, by an increasingly sinister team, and the experience of creating sounds for such extreme horror, acts of torture (which we only hear, we never see) leads to a growing sense of dread and unease, culminating in a gradual breaking down of his sanity. But much of the film is about the importance and the power of sound itself. It is not a gory film, and not really a horror film, but it is very disconcerting, chilling, and gripping. It is brilliantly concieved, with excellent acting and strking art direction, beautifully directed, and as much a mediation of the nature of sound itself. Shades of David Lynch too. I loved it!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Vegetables, Horror and Sound Effects in Genuinely Disturbing Indie Film, 3 Feb 2013
By 
Tommy Dooley (London, England) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Berberian Sound Studio [DVD] (DVD)
This is many ways is paying homage to those seventies horror films that are really in a genre all of their own. The studio of the title is where unassuming sound engineer, Gilderoy (Toby Jones `Harry Potter') arrives. He has only done nature films and children's television before but as this is called `The Equestrian Vortex' he assumes it is a horsey thing. When he questions the enigmatic director Santini (Antonio Mancino) he is told `this is not a horror film, it is a Santini film! So he gets on with the job in hand.

The problem is that the men helping him are at most barely cognisant or one is totally hostile. He decides to plod on and the cast are far from fan boys themselves. We see an array of vegetables getting smashed, dropped, ripped apart or stabbed to the flickering reflection coming from the studio screen. Our senses are heightened still further by the use of the sound board, so we know what is taking place on the unseen screen as say a witch is having her hair pulled out or a multiple stabbing is taking place as an unsuspecting cabbage get the `Psycho' shower scene treatment.

All of this is taking place amidst the seeming constant background noise of screaming. As the film gets more and more to Gilderoy, the more his reality seems to get mixed up in the happenings of the film. I also noticed that there is a tension both actual and sexual that is volatile through out and I think as most of the action takes place in the studio, this gives it a claustrophobic hue which adds to both a feeling of intimacy and immediacy.

This is a film that will stay with you, not only will you never look at a vegetable quite the same way again, but it has a power to come back into your mind for some time afterwards. I really liked it but almost exhaled in relief when it ended, which on reflection is some achievement for a film that rolls just over an hour and a half. In Italian and English with sub titles in all the right places. For fans of Italian horror as this makes a brilliant companion piece and for people who like films off the beaten path this is one to add to your collection.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars What???? Oh I see. No., 20 Aug 2014
This review is from: Berberian Sound Studio [Blu-ray] (Blu-ray)
A film should entertain first and foremost and this film fails to entertain in the slightest. A story should have a beginning, perhaps some interesting events that lead to a conclusion and an ending but here these aspects are distinctly lacking. I cannot call this a film in any way, it's incoherent, nonesensical and pointless. It's neither frightening nor interesting and how I watched it from start to painful finish is a miracle. If you have a relative you really don't like then this would make the ideal Christmas present.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A true Marmite film, 1 Feb 2013
By 
Thrud Fan (London, UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Berberian Sound Studio [DVD] (DVD)
All the actors especially Toby Jones are excellent the whole feel of the film is very atmospheric and the sound which plays a predominant roll in this is very well done.
I liked the humour that surfaced periodically throughout the picture and was fascinated with the change of the main character if it did seem a little rushed (and the use of vegetables in the making of horror films).
It builds up the tension well but for me the ending was a disappointment and a bit of a cop out.
I can see some people really liking this film and I can see their point particularly for the first three quarters, but personally I felt it started to go wrong just after the actress trashed the studio and what was with the business of the non-existent flight from Heathrow?
I was rather bemused with the last reel and this has turned me against the film as a whole.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Rather Original British `Psycho-thriller', 27 Nov 2013
By 
Keith M - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Berberian Sound Studio [DVD] (DVD)
This 2012 film written and directed by British film-maker Peter Strickland provides an innovative, though, for me, not altogether successful, take on the 'psychological horror' genre with its atmospheric focus on the making of an Italian 'giallo horror' film. Strickland, who achieved notoriety for his impressive Transylvania-set 2009 feature debut, Katalin Varga, and its troubled financing and production, here eschews the wild exteriors of the earlier film and instead sets his story of Toby Jones' sound engineer, Gilderoy, whose services have been enlisted by Italian giallo director Giancarlo Santini (Antonio Mancino), entirely within the claustrophobic confines of a 1970s Italian film 'studio'.

What follows is an absorbing, visually and aurally impressive exploration of the process of film sound dubbing and of Gilderoy's psyche, as the apparently never-ending series of sadistically violent scenes in Santini's film (curiously entitled The Equestrian Vortex) to which Gilderoy is required to add the dubbed 'special aural effects' (melons being cleaved, marrows splattered, etc), begin to oppress the sound-man's mind (and, indeed, sanity). Jones (in my book, one of the finest of the current crop of British actors) is excellent as the reserved, understated, kindly 'Brit abroad', Strickland cleverly contrasting his 'hero's' demeanour with that of his exuberant (and increasingly sinister) Italian 'colleagues', and further emphasising Gilderoy's 'innocence' via the letters he receives from his mother, which talk of an idyllic suburban home-life and 'chiffchaffs nesting in the garden'. Elsewhere, Mancino adds some chauvinistic hubris as the director Santini, full of 'artistic pretence' ('This is not a horror film - this is a Santini film!'), Cosimo Fusco as the officious and curt 'studio manager', Francesco, is (for me) less convincing, whilst 'studio assistants', the enigmatic two Maximos and the surly Lorenzo, add to the unsettling atmosphere.

Where Strickland's film scores particularly well for me (appropriately enough given its subject matter) is in its look and feel, where it is never less than intriguing. Cinematographer Nick Knowland does a great job in creating an oppressively claustrophobic atmosphere, plus some (surprisingly) disturbing close-ups of pulverised fruit and vegetables and plenty of nostalgic shots of all that analogue recording equipment. In addition, the film's soundtrack, courtesy of the British indie band Broadcast, is suitably evocative and haunting.

Jones' brilliantly idiosyncratic performance has a number of highpoints, as he stalks the corridors of the film studio rather like the Coen brothers' Barton Fink, a man 'out of his depth' and subject to 'persecution' at the hands of bombastic studio men. One such highlight, for me, is the stunning dream sequence, in which Gilderoy has become engulfed in his 'nightmare film' before being thankfully released into a Box Hill idyll, resplendent with the sound of chiffchaffs calling. It is rather a shame that Strickland could not carry this momentum through to the film's 'transcendental' conclusion, which I must admit I found somewhat underwhelming. Nevertheless, Berberian Sound Studio remains a pleasingly original work in these days of multiplex mundanity and in its director has one of the most promising in the current crop of UK film-makers.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars What a disappointment, 31 Mar 2014
This review is from: Berberian Sound Studio [DVD] (DVD)
I'd long looked forward to watching this film, having missed it the first time round. It's just the kind of feature I usually enjoy; low-key, off-centre, quirky and elusive, with un-stars who don't fit the usual Hollywood mould of straight noses, bright eyes and flashing teeth. Toby Jones is just such a sort of unassuming actor, like an English John C. Reilly or Phillip Seymour Hoffman - not good-looking but with thespian quality coming out of his ears. So it was with great expectations that I finally sat down to watch...
Oh Dear... the Emperor's new clothes spring to mind.
The film starts out well, with Gilderoy (Jones), a diffident British sound engineer who has been offered an unusual assignment to work on a 1970-ish "Giallo" film, arriving in Italy to start work at the studio. He rapidly becomes unsettled, with intimations that he's not going to get paid and constant problems with the director, producer and sound mixer. But then the film quite simply runs out of story. There are purposeless conversations with the unhappy actresses who are doing the vocals, repeated and rather tedious episodes showing how smashed vegetables are used to make stabbing and slashing effects and, towards the end, a whole skein of totally irrational interludes that are clearly there only to drag the film out to feature length. For instance, Gilderoy suddenly becomes fluent in Italian, not being able to speak a word of it at the film's start; he wakes in the middle of the night and wanders from his bedroom into a viewing room where he sees film of him getting out of the bed he's just risen from; a letter from home appears to rewrite itself...
These sorts of things reminded me of the way mental disintegration used to be portrayed in the 1960-early '70s, when you could get away with anything as long as it was understood to indicate mental breakdown (the 1972 Susannah York vehicle "Images" and Peter O'Toole's awful film of the same year "The Ruling Class" spring to mind), and to me just meant that the story had fallen to bits. I was glad when it finished, but profoundly disappointed.
Unless you're a Tony Jones completest or a fanatical Giallo fan, I'd recommend staying well away from this.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars That's why you'll always find me in the kitchen at parties......, 14 Aug 2013
By 
D. Parkin - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Berberian Sound Studio [Blu-ray] (Blu-ray)
Squish!Squelch!Splat! As Mark Twain once enquired of a vegetarian who was berating him for his meat eating,
"Have you ever torn the heart out of a lettuce, or gouged the eyes out of a potato?" (I paraphrase).
Yes, Saturday Kitchen has become a must-see after this.....
Toby Jones is a sound engineer who finds himself working on an Italian film of dubious provenance and morality, helping to add the appropriate sound effects for the torturing of a nun, with only the help of assorted soft fruit and vegetables. The cleverness of the film is that the sexploitation film is alluded to but never seen, and what we do see is the gradual erosion of Toby Jones' mental well-being as a result of his exposure to the film, Italian life, and lack of payment.
The film came highly recommended by Mark Kermode, and who am I to quibble? I enjoyed it as art-house cinema, but my partner was underwhelmed by comparison, so it is probably not for all tastes. It is a kind of love song to sound, and to the sound of Italian 1970's cinema in particular.
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Berberian Sound Studio [Blu-ray]
Berberian Sound Studio [Blu-ray] by Peter Strickland (Blu-ray - 2012)
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