Wednesday, October 3, 2007

Masters of Horror - Sounds Like (2006)

Director Brad Anderson made his debut in the horror genre with his brilliant and subtly creepy Session 9 (if you haven’t seen it, go get it NOW)  and followed that with the mind-bending The Machinist. Both were solid films, focusing on character development and storyline as opposed to splashing the screen with blood. Anderson’s subtle horror streak continues with his Masters of Horror episode Sounds Like.

In the film, Larry (Chris Bauer), a call monitor at a large tech firm, is still mourning the loss of his young son. He isolates himself from his wife, his coworkers and the rest of the world, treasuring silence. That is, until he notices that his already precise hearing is becoming more and more sensitive. Soon, a fly crawling on a window or rain falling on his car become deafening noises. Larry begins to lose it, eventually turning to murder and other drastic measures to achieve silence.

Out of all the episodes I’ve seen this season, Sounds Like is the best one so far. Anderson really takes his time to develop his characters and his films are all the better for it. Anderson puts us in Larry’s shoes and seems to ask us, “well, what would YOU do?” Larry is not an entirely likable character, by any means, but when we are privy to all the noise he hears, we can definitely sympathize.

Speaking of the noise, the sound design is one of the best aspects of the film. At one point, Larry runs into a public library to gain some solitude but finds all the page turning, pencil chewing and keyboard tapping unbearable. There is also a great scene when rain starts falling on his windshield, only instead of rain drops it sounds like bombs are being dropped!

Another thing I enjoyed about the episode was the social commentary on technology running our lives these days. People are constantly surrounded by cell phones, TV, the Internet, texting and so on…we are always in communication with each other, but very rarely do we take the time to reflect on ourselves. Still, Anderson also shows us that we need to communicate and interact with each other and not become isolated, either from ourselves or from other people.

As for the red stuff, this episode isn’t too heavy on the grue for you gorehounds out there. There are quite a few nasty scenes, especially one towards the end involving a wriggling horde of maggots. The ending is expected, but it still doesn’t lessen its impact!

Sounds Like is one of the (much) better Masters of Horror episodes out there and I highly recommend checking it out. I can’t wait to see what director Brad Anderson has up his sleeve next…

Available from Amazon!

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