Directed by: Peter Strickland
Ok, quick fix on this movie… Well it’s set in the seventies and about a typical stiff upper lipped British bloke, Gilderoy [Toby Jones], who travels to Italy to work with the sound design on director Santini’s [Antonio Mancino] new historically correct inquisition film The Equestrian Vortex – that’s exploitation horror to you and me and Gilderoy.
Somewhere between the letters from mom, and being nauseated by the on-screen, off-screen atrocities Toby seemingly falls for Silvia [Fatma Mohamed] - whom producer Francesco Coraggio [Cosimo Fusco] warns Gilderoy has “poison in her tits”. The emotional detour leads him to becoming lost in his own imagination where the line between film and fiction is erased…
Let’s be honest, Berberian Sound Studio is a tricky movie to grasp in one sitting, and there’s really no right or wrong analysis of this film, as everyone is going to read it their own way. This is one of those films that will split audiences in two halves. The ones who are angered because flips in and out of diegetic and non-diegetic audio, has a really trippy narrative and does all that it possibly can to mess with the audiences head, and the ones that simply take it for what it is – a curious thriller flipping in and out of diegetic and non-diegetic audio, has a really trippy narrative and does all that it can to mess with the audiences head.
Oh! And Suzy Kendall get’s a credit as special guest screamer!
Let me put it this way, Berberian Sound Studio is fucking brilliant and mandatory viewing for fans of Eurohorror and Giallo. No it’s not a horror film, it’s more of a mental mind trip in with elements of Brian DePalma’s Blow Up, Coppola’s The Conversation, Dario Argento’s Suspiria and Michael Armstrong’s Mark of the Devil… and it’s also a movie about what you didn’t see. NO, this isn’t a Giallo homage, NO, this isn’t a Eurohorror homage, this is something quite different and indeed.
To sum it up, Berberian Sound Studio is like being really drunk and trapped in that scene of the sound engineers in Luigi Cozzi’s “Dario Argento – Master of Horror” creating sound effects and magic that we all associate with classic Italian genre fare. That’s where this movie takes place and if you do like those kind of movies, you will get a kick out of this mind expanding piece of cinema.
Here’s that scene from Luigi Cozzi’s Dario Argento: Master of Horror which partially captures the essence of Berbian Sound Studio!
And here's the UK trailer: