Film review – Sound of Silence

My notes on Sound of Silence, which is on US digital/VOD platforms March 9.

Alessandra Antonaci, Daniel Lascar and Stefano Mandala – collectively billed as T3 – wrote and direct You Die, a movie about a haunted app.  Here, they tune in to terror with something more old-fashioned … a wireless.  In an isolated house in Italy, Peter Wilson (Peter Stephen Wolmarans) is tinkering with an old radio he’s found in the attic along with other stuff left by previous residents while his wife Margharita (Sandra Pizzullo) potters about downstairs.  He gets the thing working, and receives old-time music in bursts which also summon a spectral woman who advances threateningly but disappears when the set is turned off.  It’s a playful scene, but with jump-scares – and pays off with a possessed Peter attacking his wife.  Which brings their daughter Emma (Penelope Sangiorgi) and her boyfriend Seba (Rocco Marazzita) from New York to cope with the crisis – Margharita is hospitalised and Peter gone away, but the radio is still there.

Much of Sound of Silence is an extension of the opening sequence, with variations on what that radio can do when turned on and manifestations of the ghost woman and members of her family, which brings in a backstory about a sound-sensitive, abusive husband and father.  Emma is an aspiring musician, and the house includes a sound-proofed room she used as a recording studio – which becomes a sort of refuge from the ghost attacks.  Seba is sent out to get food on a bicycle and has his own semi-comic woes – including a brush with a possible spectre from early Italian cinema, an actual bicycle thief.  A backstory comes together, realigning the scariness, but T3 are keener on exploring every possible combination of radio and ghost action – is this sort of storytelling what you get with a team of three putting ideas on the table?  It has a faintly grimy look which is apt, and even the off-kilter, mostly English dialogue adds to the unease.


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