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Berberian Sound Studio (2013)

Director: Peter Strickland
Stars: Toby Jones, Tonia Sotiropoulou, Susanna Cappelaro, Cosimo Fusco

Peter Strickland's wonderfully strange Berberian Sound Studio doesn't have much going on in terms of story—a nebbish British sound technician named Gilderoy (the great Toby Jones) abandons his usual ho-hum movie jobs to work on the sound effects for an Italian giallo film, a.k.a. the latest in Italy's signature brand of gruesome, stylish horror, titled, brilliantly, The Equestrian Vortex. And while surrounded by the production's colorful array of filmmakers and actors, Gilderoy slowly loses his mind.

And, story wise, it's as simple as that. But, technically speaking, Berberian Sound Studio is anything but simple. Strickland utilizes a large arsenal of visual and sonic trickery so that the film itself mirrors Gilderoy's fever dream reality. It's a horror movie that isn't interested in scaring its viewers, but, rather, hypnotizing them into a state of dark, twisted confusion. Which, thanks to Strickland's talents and Jones' dynamic performance, it accomplishes tenfold. —Matt Barone

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