Berberian Sound Studio (2012) Poster

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Great original concept, but lacks a clear direction towards the end
Gonz4230 March 2013
This film is a pleasant homage to Italian giallo and to the under-recognized art of sound editing. A bit like Hélène Cattet & Bruno Forzani's "Amer" did, but in a more conventional, more "easy watching" way.

It begins as an amusing comedy with a cast of characters gently mocking the 70's Italian machismo. The very exciting central concept of the film is to deal with graphical horror without showing any real violence on the screen. This counter-fashion idea clearly marks its distance from the recent escalation in the graphic horror genre cinema, which I find honorable.

The imagination of the spectator is highly put to use compared to these days' standards. A truly outstanding atmosphere is obtained thanks to a really terrific sound editing. The atmosphere moves from light fun to disturbing fantasy with elegance.

But near the end, the story lost me. I eventually didn't understand where the film wanted take me. For that disappointing feeling, I don't rate it very high, but this movie is definitely a good piece of artwork and is more interesting than most of what is to be seen nowadays.
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Atmospheric, loving homage to Italian horror
newtt1126 June 2012
Warning: Spoilers
Saw the film as part of EIFF today, and I mostly liked it. It's an immensely stylish homage to 70's Italian horror cinema. I was ridiciously excited for it going in , being a big fan of Peter Strickland's last film Katalin Varga, and it only really disappointed me towards the end.

The sets, costumes, lighting, music and most importantly sound effects all gave the film an awesome 70's atmosphere not dissimilar to Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy that kept me transfixed throughout.

And something that surprised me: as well as being unsettling, the film was actually really, truly funny in parts (humor wasn't a big part of Katalin Varga). There's a lot of winks and nudges to fans of films like Suspiria, that would have been made in these studios in the first place. The ridiculous descriptions that the sound recordist gives of the scenes we only ever hear- "the two women creep along the secret subterranean poultry tunnel only to find the putrid corpses of the witches" - are hilarious. The tension and uncertainty builds slowly as Toby Jones ' gentle British sensibilities clash with the gruesome scenes he has to score (he has to stab cabbages, pull apart radishes and smash in courgettes) and with the brash Italians (some really well played escalating conflict).

But in the last act the film became a little too ambiguous for my liking. It seemed to attempt a Mulholland Drive-style reversal which for me didn't really work...I didn't really get what the intention was, and felt like Strickland had just used it as a flashy excuse to avoid giving it a real satisfying conclusion.

Still, I had a lot of fun watching the film and would definitely recommend it.

An irony was that, for a film so dependent on sound for it's atmosphere,during the screening there was construction going on outside the screen. So to add to the diagetic horror sounds we annoyingly had some non-diagetic construction noises!!
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A pretentious mess
rebecca-ry17 January 2013
'Berberian Sound Studio' is a film about an English sound technician (Toby Jones) who is used to creating sound effects for children's TV shows, who travels to Italy to work on a horror film. We follow him as he grows more and more homesick and as he gradually becomes hopeless.

There isn't much in the way of acting in this film but Toby Jones is a very talented actor and does perform well here. The other actors certainly are not poor, they give decent performances but none of them are particularly memorable.

The script is so basic and undeveloped you can practically see the writer shrug and say 'that'll do,' by the end. The first half hour is interesting because you get to see how sound effects are made and the whole dubbing process in general. After 30 minutes this gets tiresome however and I know it is supposed to be cyclical and seem never ending for Toby Jones, but it is so obscure you don't really care. When a film gets to the point where it thinks it's smarter than everyone else it becomes a pretentious mess, leaving you thinking they could have written that same concept with a more understandable and entertaining script. It deliberately tries to confuse you by adding pointless scenes here and there but in the end you realise the film only lasted an hour and a half but seems to last three hours.

Overall, this was quite disappointing. I really wanted to like this film; I had read so many great reviews on it and was looking forward to seeing it. Unfortunately it made me question the judgement of so many film critics that I follow.
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The sound of horror
Red-Barracuda1 July 2012
Warning: Spoilers
The horror and giallo films produced in Italy in the 70's are possibly more respected now than at any time before. Their unique combination of salacious content with cinematic style, outstanding musical arrangements and Italian chic is truly a thing of wonder and a type of film-making we may never see again. These are the kinds of movies that belong to a specific era, indeed the décor, fashions and look of the women from early 70's Italy are significant factors in the pleasure of watching them. It seems that any film nowadays that tries to capture the essence of these movies has to do it in a slightly post-modern or retro way rather than as a straight copy. Amer (2009) was a movie that adopted the former approach with many references to films from the time. Berberian Sound Studio does the same but with the addition of the film itself being set in Italy in the early 70's and, moreover, it is explicitly about the making of such films. However, neither Amer nor Berberian Sound Studio could exactly be called a giallo. They are films constructed from the motifs of the genre. They are both highly original films in their own rights.

Berberian Sound Studio is almost a deconstruction of the giallo. The film is set in a sound recording studio for movie audio effects and dubbing. Italian genre pictures from the time were always shot soundless and then post-dubbed into a plethora of languages in order to maximise international sales; so for this reason it's obvious that the sound recording part of the process was even more important in these films than normal. So we have bizarre scenes where the sound engineer 'murders' various vegetables in order to get just the right noise. Similarly music plays an important part. The music throughout the picture recalls the early 70's Italian prototype. There are haunting female wordless vocals that recall the work of the one and only Edda Dell'Orso who was the vocalist on countless Italian soundtracks from the time and almost something of a muse for the legendary Ennio Morricone. Indeed, the excellent score from post-rock outfit Broadcast also has nods to Morricone as well as Bruno Nicolai, Goblin and others.

A film set almost entirely within the confines of a sound studio needs something to ensure it's cinematic. Director Peter Strickland maintains a stylish look and feel, combining sound and image in consistently interesting ways. Little details are magnified and treated with visual flair such as the close-ups of the rotting vegetables discarded after being 'killed' for sound effects or the detailed scanning shots of the sound engineer's chronological notes. We never see the film in question but we are given a tantalising intro to it that certainly resembles movies from the time period. It's a Warholesque pop art intro with lots of black, lots of red and cool music. Instead of seeing the clips of the movie we have instead voice-over descriptions of gloriously ridiculous scenes that any fan of the genre will immediately relate to. Within these there are references to some cult genre flicks such as Suspiria (witches) and Death Laid an Egg (poultry), while throughout the movie an unseen black leather gloved figure flicks various switches which of course is a fetishtic detail that relates to countless gialli.

The central character is British. So on another level this movie is about an Englishman in Rome. The culture clash is evident throughout, where the Italians just do things in a different way. They have unorthodox ideas on paying money and utter ambivalence to the violence in their film. Their Latin sensibilities are constantly at odds with the English sound engineer, who is more used to recording sounds of cows in fields. With time he becomes psychologically warped by his constant exposure to the movie he is dubbing and his reality starts to become intertwined with it. In one trippy scene he sees himself on the cinematic screen dubbed into Italian being terrorised by a sexy giallo killer-witch. In another his mundane letter from his mother becomes part of the film dialogue. One of his amateur films even becomes spliced into the middle of the horror film, creating a bizarre contrast. By the end, the protagonist's psyche is inextricably mixed up with that of the film he immerses himself in. It's a pretty Lynchian conclusion to a loving homage to Italian horror-thrillers of the 70's.
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Great sound, looks good but terrible story
darren-153-8908104 September 2012
So I've read the raving reviews, not one bad one to be found, which is odd, as I heard at least 5 people leaving the cinema tonight muttering the words 'what a cr*p film that was'.

I understand it's a take on 1970's horror movies, blah, blah, blah. But imagine if you hadn't seen one?

The sound is amazing, interesting, atmospheric and amusing, (did they really make sound effects like that back then?) but once you realise that's all the film is all about you begin to lose interest. Personally I like a storyline, but isn't one.

As for the last 20 minutes, I have absolutely no idea what that was all about. Being a massive Kubrick fan I'd normally love surreal scenes like this. But it all felt a bit like we've run out of ideas here, lets just add a twist to make it more interesting. Which doesn't work at all.

If you like self indulgent stylized films then you'll love this. I prefer films with emotion that move you. This couldn't move me to the exit quick enough
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A movie for your ears and eyes
paultreloar753 September 2012
What an intense and intelligent movie this is. As others have noted, the nods to Italian cinema of the 70's era are bold and brash, yet it's also a quintessential Englishman abroad drama. The atmosphere created by the soundtrack was electric and it felt like hearing the world with new ears when I left the picture house at the end.

Don't expect a neat narrative, this film plays with your senses and your understanding of whose doing what to who and why. It's exceptionally claustrophobic throughout, and the disconcerting edits constantly leave you asking more questions about what's going to take place next.
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Great sound and framing
kosmasp26 October 2012
The story on the other hand is confusing to say the least. But that is meant to be experienced like that. The question is if you are willing to enjoy the ride. You could also say it's a bit of style over content, though I'm sure the director must have a plan in mind and could explain it all to you.

The cast is great, the pace of the story on the other hand is really slow. Another factor that might make this unbearable to watch for some people. It's definitely a great look behind the scenes of sound making, whatever you think of the movie. Another great thing is that the movie can be watched a couple of times, so you could discover new little things in it.
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Club Silenzio: Peel Sessions of mind
chaos-rampant30 June 2013
I'm a big fan of films where impressionable protagonists enter a world of images and fictions. The challenge is how to model madness, by what degrees to confuse and clarify. DePalma could do this type of film, fooling with layered placement and identity of the eye—it'd be as cool as this and obvious in its main thrust about madness, but probably not as ambient. Lynch could in a more powerful way.

The story is that a shy sound-man goes to work on an Italian exploitation movie, this is to establish him as a creative person who will have to imagine things, and to establish the things he's going to imagine as of some darkness. He is an introvert, so we can have this conflation of inner and outer sensitivity to phenomena. Funny: shy is here equated with unattractive appearance in the main actor.

The film is entirely contained on a soundstage and around the studio where the soundtrack is being prepared. The actual horror movie is never seen (except for the opening credits which serve as the credits to our film), always inferred from what we see of the sound-carpet being fitted, the screams and slashing sounds, and this is a crucial point: the horror movie never quite materializes, so there's widespread negativity in reviews.

Oh, we get obvious hallucination in the latter stages that I could do without, linked to movie screens as borders of reality — it clarifies too much. But there's something else I liked, simple and inventive.

All sorts of sound effects are constructed over the course of the film before our eyes, from ordinary means: melons are slashed, pumpkins are splattered, broth is boiling. The first time we see the effect being recorded, and then an off-screen voice announces what it is supposed to be the sound of, and it's done a second time. It's fun to see on a fundamental level as exposing the kind of unceremonious but inventive technical work that takes place behind cinematic curtains of illusion.

But more marvelous is exemplifying the mechanism of that illusion that creates the imagined horror story in our mind — the second time the sound becomes the mental image just described to us. By making it so immediate, it's a powerful exhibit, observable in your own self, of the mind acquiring illusory images — the images become what the off- screen voice announces. Wickedly clever! Because it puts us in the protagonist's shoes, by introducing a disruptive level of imagination.

So I think you must see this at one point. Based on his previous film and now this, I have this filmmaker on my short list of talent that I expect he has it in him to be a leading voice a decade from now.
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Pretentous, self indulgent nonsense!
Redcitykev5 November 2012
Warning: Spoilers
So, this sound engineer goes to Italy to act as an effect expert on an Italian horror film. Whilst doing his job the constant repetition of hacking melons, recording screaming women, crunching leaves underfoot - added to the problems of trying to get reimbursed for his travelling expenses - drive him... well, does it drive him mad, or is what we are watching real (within the content of the film) or is itself a film being made about this sound engineer who goes to Italy to act as an effect expert on an Italian horror film.

Now, there are some good things to be said about this film - Toby Jones as said sound engineer, about whom the film may be about or not as the case may be, is very good, and the use of sound is well done - but, having laid out a most promising situation, and apparently leading to a shock ending, the film suddenly disappears up its own backside. At one point - SPOILER ALERT! - an actress comes in and, when asked to speak her lines, starts to quote from a letter from home that the Toby Jones character has received. Then Mr Jones starts speaking in Italian as the film begins to repeat itself... and... well, by this time I had totally lost the plot and was looking at my watch wondering how much longer I had to endure this nonsense.

There are some films which get caught on the festival/critical merry-go-round, and garner awards by the truck load, coupled with glowing reviews which other critics, not wishing to swim against the tide, endorse. Yet when these films are watching by genuine, fee paying members of the public the reaction is totally different, and a completely - more real - idea of the film emerges. This is one such film, one beloved by the critics, yet disliked (or at best met with indifference) bu the viewing public. Certainly when my local film club screened it the general reaction was "what on earth was all that about"! No, I'm afraid this is pretentious, self indulgent load of nonsense, loved by critics and wannabe intellectuals who think they can read much into such rubbish, but hated by the real cinema goer!
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Boring and does not go any where
med77_9918 January 2013
Just as so many reviewers have already mentioned on here, this film lacks big time in plot and is very very slow. the film really looks good, they managed to create a very creepy atmosphere, the acting was also above average, so it had all the recipe for being a good film, but it ultimately failed mainly because the plot had no target, and the whole movie did not go any where, it was a repetitive mess of boring scenes over and over. You can feel that there is a good film in there somewhere, but the director and the writers failed to bring it out and Berberian Sound studio ended up a boring slow film that is better avoided.

the plot as many have mentioned revolves around a British sound engineer hired by an Italian director to work on editing a Horror Italian film, once arrived and started working on the studio, he starts to feel homesick and lost with the people around him. more than half the movie is in Italian without subtitles, something done deliberately im assuming to have the viewers feel as lost and confused as the main character, the only problem that it was over done and not executed properly, to the extent that we as viewers really felt lost and bored listening to the never ending Italian talk throughout the movie without understanding anything!!

the biggest problem with the film is that it repeats itself with the same sort of scenes over and over, usually of actors working in the studio and the British engineer working on the editing looking confused and depressed with an aggressive Italian sound director along side him, with no clear goal or target for the film and ending up so confusing, slow and boring. Avoid
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I could go on and on, there is so much to admire in 'Berberian Sound Studio', I can't wait to see it again.
dipesh-parmar6 September 2012
Warning: Spoilers
'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.
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Going off the rails
MOscarbradley10 September 2012
Warning: Spoilers
Ever wondered what a 'dangerously aroused' goblin sounded like or having a red hot poker inserted into the vagina of a witch? Hopefully not, but if you have and it's in a movie then BERBERIAN SOUND STUDIO should go some way to explaining it. Peter Strickland's film is set entirely in the studio of the title or in the drab little room where its 'hero' Gilderoy is staying. He's in Italy to record the sound effects for a horror film called "The Equestrian Vortex" and the experience isn't doing him any good at all. Indeed poor Gilderoy is taking all of this very much to heart and by the end neither he, nor us, can be sure of what's real and what isn't.

Cinephiles should appreciate BERBERIAN SOUND STUDIO more than your run-of-the-mill Saturday night crowd. After all, it's a film about making a film and they are more than likely to get the references to Dario Argento and Brian DePalma and even to Antonioni's BLOW UP. I found it both funny and unsettling and I admired its technical virtuosity and Toby Jones' superb performance as the sad little sound recordist going way off the rails but I'm not too sure it's a movie I would want to sit through again, at least not anytime soon.
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Sound to Die For
dionnemking19 September 2012
Peter Strickland's second feature, Berberian Sound Studio, is an original homage to the art of analogue sound and the power of the medium.

Sound engineer Gilderoy, (Toby Jones) a meek, middle-aged bachelor, is transplanted from home-counties life living with his Mother to engineer the soundtrack for a 1970s Italian film. Trapped in the Italian studio with manipulative, Producer, Francesco (Cosimo Fusco) and a monosyllabic, aged, studio manager, he has no idea what elusive Director, Santini (Antonio Mancino) has in the can beyond the title, The Equestrian Vortex. Confronted by twin Foley goons smashing watermelons in lab coats, Gilderoy questions the relevance to horse riding! While he recoils at the violent, exploitative 'giallo' horror that Francesco reveals, Gilderoy is ensnared in the menacing studio, cashless and unable to recover any of his costs from beautiful, contemptuous, secretary Elena (Tonia Sotiropoulou). Ignorant of the language, overwhelmed by the explosive dynamics between charismatic, unscrupulous Santini, Francesco and the cast, Gilderoy retreats into his work, his only outside communication the letters from his Mother recounting the changing pastoral life he longs to record. Immersed in the simulation of sonic sadism, the resonance of repeated takes twist Gilderoy's grasp of reality. Berberian Sound Studio, produced by WarpX with Screen Yorkshire and the UK Film Council, is a blackly comic film, pregnant with menace. The sound is to die for, a master class in the language of horror and the alchemy of the artists.

There's much comedy in the contrasts, the Anglo-Italian cultural clash, the screen artifice and the studio reality. A droll voice-over introduces each sadistic scene, "A dangerously aroused goblin stalks the dormitory". In the sound booth, actresses bitch about mundanities before the next sickening scream. Murdered vegetables decompose in a festering studio vat substituted for the film that we never see. However, underlying the comedy is a sense of the viewer's complicity in the violence. While familiarity with the exploitative 'giallo' genre and its far-reaching impact on modern horror cinema is not necessary, it is rewarding. Strickland questions the corruptive power of horror and our own self-deception

Writer/Director Peter Strickland is a rare talent whose ambitions are refreshingly original. A clever low budget conceit, his follow up to Katalin Varga, is a fascinating tour de force with a daring tone. It's only weakness, as in 'giallo', is that as Gilderoy's sanity deteriorates, plot seems secondary to sound and vision.
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Berberian Bore Studio
bradleybean8620 May 2013
having all of the makings to be extremely interesting but isn't. I believe many people are defending and glorifying this movie on the grounds of "it's not supposed to be horror it's drama/surrealist" and I totally am down for that - had the director managed to do anything interesting.

this surrealist movie is pretentious to the very last frame with no real discernible crescendo or memorable scenes. i think it's very obvious they have still resorted to using horror conventions like undesirable static and white noise (if you have sensitive ears do NOT see this at the movie theatre) to loud gong and cymbal crashes after long pauses of silence in order to 'jolt' you. even so, it's definitely not very interesting, remarkable, or scary.

the ending credits shamelessly trample over Goblin's Suspiria theme however it is slightly transposed and the stepping is different (i'm assuming this was intended) at the same time, there are currently a small handful of better horror films being released this year (Maniac) and the hopeful remake of (Suspiria) and possible (Jeepers Creepers 3)
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Pretentious, pointless and muddled
tobias20206 May 2014
This is a movie that seems to have no purpose. The way that the sound effects were generated in the film is mildly interesting, and the xenophobia that the main character experienced made me believe that the storyline would go somewhere. However, this was not the case. Sitting through this, I found it hard to understand why the actors were even drawn to the material; it is so uninteresting. Technically the film has its merits, and it might be relevant for someone who has worked as a sound effects technician and editor in movies, but for the general population it is probably a waste of time. I know that it contains references to Italian horror movies of the 70's and 80's, but so what? My advice is to stay away.
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A collection of great techniques in search of a film
basilisksamuk15 July 2013
First and foremost it has to be recognised that the design and execution of the sound sequences in this film are outstanding. It's almost worth ninety minutes of your time just to listen to this film, the sound design is so good. It's also pretty satisfying if you have a fetish for old sound equipment – all those reel-to-reel tape decks and retro-futuristic signal generators and so on. From that point of view and from the sound perspective this film was absolutely up my street. Toby Jones as the lead could not be faulted and I would happily watch anything with him in it.

So what was wrong with it? Well it was sub-Lynchian without ever coming near to the pleasures and terrors of an actual David Lynch film. You can almost hear the director straining to hit the tone of a Lynch film and falling badly short every time. The script was at times very amusing but mostly it was just plain trivial or superficial. The story was incomprehensible, again not in a Lynch fashion where the very incomprehensibility adds to the mystery but in the fashion of someone striving for portentous but merely achieving pretentious.

It's worth seeing/hearing for the fantastic design but as a film it fails to engage and it fails to be half as clever as it thinks it is.
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Lucabrasisleeps21 July 2014
OK, so first I have been watching many recent British films and generally I have been impressed.

I am a big giallo fan. 2 recent movies supposedly have been inspired by giallos, this one and Amer. I have not been satisfied with either. Both of them have the same problem. Pretentiousness. That is one thing giallos didn't have. The one thing I like about giallo films is that they were unashamedly trashy and enjoyable. They didn't try to make a Cannes film award winning film or anything like that. They didn't try to confuse people for the hell of it. They made confusing stories, yes, but it all came together in the end. That's what made them great.

Anyway I didn't like it. First I don't mind if you are going to make slow burner horror or anything pretentious. But at least something needs to happen. Which doesn't mean somebody cutting vegetables or anything like that(you will get what I am saying when you see it). I don't think the filmmakers really cared to make a direct horror film anyway.

I didn't enjoy it.

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The witching hour.....
FlashCallahan20 January 2013
Warning: Spoilers
A British man is hired by an Italian company to produce the full sound mix and effects for their latest Giallo offering.

What he doesn't realise, however, is the eccentricity of just about everyone involved in the project.

The life he's living begins to interfere with the film he's helping create the sound for, and in true Lynchian fashion the two blur, so it's hard to distinguish between the two....

The horror film of the year, that many people don't consider to be horror, isn't just one of the stand out films of 2012, it's a veritable lecture for anyone who has an interest in sound editing.

But the film has so different meanings, and depending in what mood your in, it offers different connotations to what is going on.

Is he simply a weak man who is being taken advantage of?

Is he a slowly having a mental breakdown due to the images he sees on screen that he believes he is becoming part of the film?

Or is all of this just in his head, while he is in a place where he is sectioned?

No matter what you think, it offers very different explanations to questions asked. Is he writing those letters? are the majority of the people there real? Did he fly to Italy?, or is it simply some big conspiracy so the studio don't pay his airfare because of the increasing budget of the film?

Jones, as always is brilliant, and in the last seven years, he has proved he is not just one of the best British actors alive, but one of the best actors on the planet.

The directors choice not to show any of the imagery from the Giallo film is genius, because the mind can be more scarier then what you see, the original Haunting movie used mainly sound, but this just cranks it up to 11.

It's a very un-nerving experience, and some scenes are very unpleasant, but it's a feast on the ears, and the small set just makes the film that little more intense.

well worth seeking out.
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Slow, ponderous, pretentious...
darrenelaws26 November 2013
Well edited and nicely shot with some genuinely good acting from the cast but it's 114 Min's of my life which I would like returned when on my deathbed. The films starts promisingly but gets lost in a sea of pretencion and meanders to a disappointing ending. While there is atmosphere in spades nothing is done with it. All the ingredients were there to make a great film but we are left with something which underachieves on all levels.It is neither frightening, disturbing, unsettling or thought provoking. I felt sorry for Toby Young who gives a solid performance but the film just fizzles out. This really could have been a genuinely remarkable film but will only be remembered for failing to deliver on all accounts. Slow, ponderous, pretentious...
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Seriously awful - and not in a good sense
pforrest-217 December 2013
I was so looking forward to this movie. The subject matter looked appealing, and the setting and storyline interesting. As a sound recording buff with an interest in vintage gear it looked ideal. What I got was a mishmash - competent direction, decent acting, decent cinematography, coupled with completely hopeless plot and editing. It's one of those films that starts promisingly and just goes down and down. The nature documentary clip which suddenly intrudes towards the end is one of the worst pieces of poor editing and plot illogicality I've ever seen. I recorded this from TV, and seriously thought the tuner had glitched onto another channel for five minutes. Repetitive lazy editing, cheating scary bits, just totally disappointing. I really don't think you can justify crappy bits by implying that you are paying homage to a genre which used to have crappy bits.. unless you're making a pastiche. Judging by the awards I see this has won your mileage may vary. Now to look at some reviews to see what subtlety and greatness I missed.
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Bore-berian Sound Studio.
BA_Harrison4 July 2015
The 1970s: Gilderoy (Toby Jones), a meek English sound mixer, travels to Italy to work on an 'equestrian' film (as it is described to him) which turns out to be a shockingly violent horror movie. At first, studio engineer Francesco (Cosimo Fusco) is pleased to see Gilderoy, but as they proceed to work on the film together, Francesco's nature begins to change, and he becomes rude and intimidating. With constant exposure to the horrific images on-screen, and an increasingly unfriendly co-worker to contend with, the pressure starts to get to Gilderoy…

As a big fan of Italian horror and an avid supporter of home-grown movies, I really wanted to like Berberian Sound Studio, a UK production that centres around the making of a splattery supernatural giallo. The dark, claustrophobic setting (the whole film takes place within the confines of the studio) and the nature of the film on which Gilderoy is working on make for some moody moments, but the soporific pacing, lack of scares, and completely baffling pay-off (there are several attempts at explaining matters on the film's IMDb message board, none of them very convincing) go to make the movie an excruciating test of endurance.

I was equal parts bored and confused by this dismally dull and possibly pretentious snooze-fest (I watched the film over the course of three nights because I kept falling asleep) and am at a complete loss to see how this has gleaned so many positive reviews (IMDb current rating: 6.2/10).

My rating: 1/10
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So much wasted potential
andymclennan25 November 2013
Warning: Spoilers
I really wanted to like this film.

Actually, I wanted to love it - I'm a big horror fan and a sound engineer, so I was really looking forward to seeing Berberian Sound Studio.

It started off so promisingly, it was an excellent premise, looked beautiful and obviously (as you would expect) the sound design was superb.

*Warning, spoilers after this point*

Around half way through I started to wonder when something was going to happen. Don't get me wrong, I'd really been enjoying things up to this point, revelling in the period setting and use of traditional foley methods being demonstrated... but nothing happened.

Sure, there were lots of "incidents", but lots of incidents can only entertain you for so long. They need to lead somewhere, and sadly, they just didn't.

Three quarters of the way through and things took a turn for the bizarre (normally a good thing, but not in this case).

Gilderoy could suddenly speak Italian, where before his mastery of the language was pretty much non-existent.

Why? How? Nothing was explained. Was the film he was working on actually the film we were watching? If that was the intent, it could have been explored and explained more fully.

As for the ending, total let down. I've seen some films that "just stopped" to good effect, but doing it here merely added to the frustration.

To summarise: If you like films that look great and sound amazing (and especially if you are "in the business" you will get some enjoyment out of this film, but ultimately, it's very unsatisfying.
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I want 2 hours of my life back... I'm serious!
reverienow12 October 2013
This movie is a complete piece of garbage. The only thing that even qualifies it to be called a movie is the fact that it is video footage that continues to play for an average movie length. I can't believe I watched the whole thing. I hated the entire movie, but I held on because I wanted redemption for the time I had already wasted. The film has no redeeming qualities or plot or character depth. Random images and sounds would have been more entertaining and thought provoking. This film is little more then random images and sound, but under the guise of art it provokes expectation of something more. The utter lack of anything even remotely interesting taking place in the film leads the viewer to believe that the monotony they have witnessed so far must be an annoying and lengthy plot device with intentionally shallow character development. I feel so cheated by this movie that I actually want people held responsible for this.
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Not a bad film, just something for a very select few
adamscastlevania220 September 2014
(37%) This really, really is not a movie for casual film fans, so anyone expecting the simplicity of a slasher flick, or the fun of a horror comedy should give this a wide birth. This is for fans of a certain type of Italian horror with the main focus on sound mixing and creation in a rather bleak looking sound studio. After about 20 minutes it becomes clear that this isn't going to be a plot heavy movie as Toby Jones (the best aspect of the movie) records effects, mixes effects etc while the whole time something is never quite right. The movie is not really fun to watch, or really that rewarding, but a certain audience will find at least something to enjoy here, while everyone else should stay away.
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All mood
SnoopyStyle26 August 2014
Gilderoy (Toby Jones) is a sound engineer hired to work at an Italian studio. He is shocked at the material as he begins to work on The Equestrian Vortex. It's witchcraft movie in an all girl riding school. He's a quiet reserved English speaker and he's not making fast friends among his Italian co-workers. The boss Santini refuses to call it a horror movie. He becomes a paranoid mess as he falls further and further into his work.

This is a movie filled with moodiness. Toby Jones is terrific. However, I want more creepiness and some scares. It definitely needs something more. It doesn't have enough weirdness. It doesn't have any shock. It is just a long tense tease that doesn't pay off. The story needs to be about something. This film wants to be The Shining but it doesn't reach anywhere close to it.
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