Sound of Violence is available to rent or buy now.
Sound has always been instrumental in making good horror. Some of our scariest memories come from hearing something at night. Was that someone breaking in? Is there someone walking around upstairs when the house is supposed to be empty? But, it is also the backbone of some of the most horrific scenes in horror history. For example, imagine watching Michael Myers gruesomely butchering sexed-up teens without the noise of the slashes and guts; it would fall relatively flat. When it comes to horror, sight is second to sound. Over the years, many horrors have found success by adopting a sonic focus—for example, The Birds, A Quiet Place, The Exorcist and Hush. And now Alex Noyer cranks the amp to 11 with Sound of Violence.
Alexis (Jasmin Savoy Brown) is a musical artist with synaesthesia; able to feel an unexplainable pleasure from certain sounds. For Alexis, these sounds just happen to be blood splatters, screams, and heartbeats slowly fading away. Here Alexis is intentionally complex, as Noyer suggested in his intro; you’re constantly wondering if Alexis is attempting to re-enact the original trauma of her childhood or if she just seeks a sadistic thrill that invigorates her. She’s a troubling character precisely because of her uncharacteristically down-to-earth, compassionate guise.
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In many ways, Alexis feels like one of those seven murderers everyone supposedly walks past on the street during their lives, each one living among us, hidden in plain sight. There are a handful of moments where Noyer cleverly peppers this through Alexis’ hidden mental state while never entirely pulling back the curtain. Here we have an uncontrolled laugh or a cry of joy as she enacts gruesome torture upon her subjects. But before you can process it, she’s back to being compassionate and helpful.
However, what is clear is that Alexis cannot be perceived as one person, but a fractured soul – like notes on a sheet, all with a different personality and intention. And it’s here where Jasmin Savoy Brown’s complex performance is utterly riveting, quickly proving herself to be a rising star and one to watch. And with her next role already cemented in Scream 5, it seems Alex Noyer has an eye for great talent.
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Sound of Violence is undoubtedly one of the most intense horrors I’ve seen in a while. There is a Saw-like level of creativity to the elaborate traps Alexis creates to capture her sounds. Here she is a conductor of cruelty, a musical maestro of murder. In one instance, she constructs a mechanical chair with multiple deadly attachments linked to a sample pad. Here we watch as she gleefully taps away whilst a homeless man is ripped apart; it’s downright horrifying, made even worse by the plethora of sounds Noyer activates. It’s a veritable feast of a soundscape, with stabs, screeching cries and whirring mechanisms coming together.
The fact that this is only the first kill makes you even more nervous about what Alexis has planned to complete her album of atrocity. It’s an approach to horror that’s visceral not in its visuals but in its soundscape – that’s where the true creative spark of Sound of Violence lies. It’s vicious and unrelenting, with your mind constantly filling in the visual gaps automatically, thereby creating your own horror using Noyer’s sounds.
Sound of Violence represents how bold creativity is the lynchpin to the continuation of slashers – the days of the masked murderer now behind us. It’s about finding new ways to scare, discomfort and disgust. Here Noyer reinterprets the slasher with an incredibly original story and a complex and deadly character. The result, one of the best movies of FrightFest 2021.