Customer Review

7 of 9 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Cue unseen horror, 22 Jan 2013
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This review is from: Berberian Sound Studio [DVD] (DVD)
You are probably going to love this film or feel somewhat disappointed by it.

I bought the blu ray version and listened through my Sony MDRDS6500.CEK Digital Surround Headphones. The soundtrack, no surprise here given the subject matter, is intense, sometimes shocking and very atmospheric.

Sound engineers/hi-fi geeks will appreciate the pre-digital retro equipment featured in the film, but I did ask myself "why show a Revox open reel tape deck rather than a Studer?" (Studer was the professional end of the Studer/Revox range of equipment). The director, Peter Strickland's first film, Katalin Varga, won an award in the category of sound design - so it's no surprise that his second shows highly creative working of a film score. If anything the film is a recognition that, within the horror genre especially, the sound track heavily underpins the tension of the visual elements.

The cinematography, which is very concise and seductive, lingers on the brilliant Toby Jones' expressive and enigmatic facial contortions and hovers over details of props and equipment within the recording studio. The rest of the cast is good but Toby, being the fulcrum point for the plot, has to carry them with him. It's a rite of passage film with a much-later-than-adolescent protagonist who has come from a perfectly innocent background collaborating on english documentaries to the aggressive, dark, sleasy but intriguing world of low budget horror.

As others have said, the claustrophobic atmosphere of the recording studio comes across very well. Although you don't see any visuals of the film being produced, anyone who has seen any of the eurohorror classics (Argento, Bava, Cronenburg) will have a pretty good idea of what's going on, otherwise the script does more than hint at the horror contained in them. In some ways the film has more than a nodding glance to David Lynch's Inland Empire in that it seeks to blur the frames between 'reality' and 'fanstasy'.

Even though there is much to admire in the craft within this piece of cinema and whilst I think it has wormed its way into cinematic history given it's unusual plot and treatment, the film itself did leave me feeling a little at a loss - much in the same way as did David Lynch's Inland Empire - but there again perhaps this is a more real feeling that we often have in life as opposed the the more structured, beginning, middle end of more narrative works.
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