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"Berberian Sound Studio": The Sounds of Italian Horror 

Friday, Jun 21 2013
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Berberian Sound Studio This would-be cerebral thriller shows us how to squeeze some black comedy from a dry Gothic culture shock, but not why we'd want to. It's the bleak mid-'70s, and Toby Jones is a timid English sound mixer summoned to the cloisters of a seedy Italian movie studio, where he and a horror-exploitation film will be finishing each other off. Writer-director Peter Strickland keeps the familiar horror-flick brutality offscreen and therefore strictly allusive. Dwelling but not developing, Strickland proceeds stoically through many slow fades and loving glances at vintage audio gear, possibly hoping to chance upon a vital spark. Aurally, Berberian Sound Studio has a broad dynamic range. Dramatically, not so much.

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Jonathan Kiefer

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SF Weekly movie critic Jonathan Kiefer is on Twitter: @kieferama and of course @sfweeklyfilm.

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