Firstly, I’d like to start by saying something positive. Toby Jones is excellent as Gilderoy, a sound engineer, who travels to Italy to work on a horror film. Berberian Sound Studio looks good, it’s stylishly shot and in a brave and smart move the director elects to show the creation of sound effects and voice recordings for the horror film within this film, without actually showing us anything of the film itself. Queue Toby Jones smashing up various fruits and veg to create the necessary sounds of bodily mutilation, and lots and lots of shots of women in sounds booths screaming. A lot.
Berberian Sound Studio received rave reviews, scoring 80/100 on metacritic.com, but I just can’t agree. I found it dull-slow (as opposed to intriguing-slow), hard work and just plain baffling. Now, I don’t need my films to spoon feed me, I’m happy to use my brain, but I can’t even fathom if there actually was a point to this film or if writer/director Peter Strickland was just being purposefully obtuse.
I wonder if it’s a slight case of the emperor’s new clothes.