Berberian Sound Studio

Director: Peter Strickland
Cast: Toby Jones, Antonio Mancino, Fatma Mohamed, Tonia Sotiropoulou, Susanna Capellaro, Cosimo Fusco, Suzy Kendall

Sometime in the 1970s, an English sound engineer begins work on an Italian production which to his shock turns out to be a gruesome horror flick. The foreign surroundings, the hostile working environment and the film’s increasinly graphic content slowly begin to take its toll on the timid soundman. Peter Strickland’s confounding second feature offers nothing to the average moviegoer. His vanity project seems to be aimed solely at the fans of obscure Italian giallo movies and vintage audio equipment. Is it a drama, a dark comedy, or a psychological horror story? All and none of the above. It doesn’t have a traditional narrative, interesting characters or arresting visuals. This would all be well if Strickland’s film was somewhat captivating. The overall vibe and the soundscape in particular owe a great deal to David Lynch. But where Lynch’s work, even at its most obscure (Inland Empire, anyone?), has a weird hypnotic pull, I couldn’t wait for this one to end.