Berberian Sound Studio Review

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As mild-mannered foley artist Gilderoy (Jones) works on a low-budget Italian horror called Equestrian Vortex his grasp of reality and fiction becomes ever more blurry.


After his striking Hungarian-language debut, Katalin Varga, it was anyone’s guess what Brit writer-director Peter Strickland would do next. Few, however, would have bet on a '70s-set psychological thriller, in which an unassuming Surrey sound engineer named Gilderoy (Jones) is invited to the eponymous Italian studio to work on the latest splatterfest by famous giallo director Santini (Mancino). Obliging at first, the achingly parochial Gilderoy soon begins to question the artistic validity of the patently misogynistic killings the film portrays, until gradually his sanity threatens to succumb to the dark horrors he is forced to watch, on repeat, every day. Anchored by a typically flawless performance by Jones, Strickland’s second film begins as an audio geek’s dream, before spiralling inexorably into the stuff of David Lynch’s nightmares.

With a debut film, Katalin Varga, shot entirely in Hungarian, Strickland isn't one for the easy option. This excellent follow-up plunges into equally unusual terrain with similarly pleasing results.