By Mark Saldana
Rating: 3.5 (Out of 4 Stars)
- the production of a sense impression relating to one sense or part of the body by stimulation of another sense or part of the body. (Oxford English Dictionary)
To be more specific and detailed, the concept of synesthesia, as portrayed in this movie is the ability to visualize colors associated with particular types of sounds. It really sounds like an amazing phenomenon and writer/director Alex Noyer has taken this concept and made a rather ingenious horror film based on it. Before this film, I, myself, was completely unfamiliar with this experience, but am now even more fascinated with the idea now that I have seen the movie. As surreal and ethereal as this sounds, Noyer still manages to deliver the wickedly nasty horror goods one would expect from a horror movie. That said, Sound of Violence does delve into some heady areas, but never gets too overly intelligent to give audiences some cheap thrills and gruesome kills.
Jasmin Savoy Brown stars as Alexis Reeves, a woman who suffered from hearing loss at a young age, but has managed to recover her hearing after a most traumatic experience at the age of 10. After witnessing the violent murder of her family this shock to her mind has not only awakened her sense of hearing, but has also given her the ability of synesthesia. Whenever she hears certain noises which sound similar to pain, fright and suffering, she begins to see vivid colors and shapes. This proves to be tremendously infectious and addictive. As a college student studying music and sound, Jasmin decides to experiment with this phenomena, even if it means causing the pain and suffering to other people herself. As Jasmin grows more addicted to this experience, she becomes more and more like a serial killer who cannot stop, despite her more intelligent sensibilities.
With Sound of Violence, Alex Noyer manages to use the bizarre idea of synesthesia in some vicerally disturbing, gory and entertaining ways. Though audiences should not completely enjoy the mostly ghastly ways that Alexis feeds her addiction, it sometimes is difficult not to be entertained by some of her ideas. Noyer manages to walk that very, very fine line between realistic horror and slightly cartoonish, absurd horror, by never completely committing to either side. This helps to keep things on a more even keel, never forgetting that the main message has to do with trauma and how this negative experience can make a person commit acts they wouldn’t normally do.
The straight-up and committed performance by Jasmin Savoy Brown certainly helps maintain a certain level of solidity, keeping the events grounded. The film also features Lily Simmons as Jasmin’s best friend Marie Sotker. Marie thinks she knows Jasmin too well to believe she could be committing the murders, but soon realizes, after discovering various clues, that it is within the realm of probability. The film also features solid work by James Jagger, Tessa Munro, and James Wellington.
Though Sound of Violence will not appeal to everyone, it should be a solid hit with fans of ingenious, gruesome horror. Alex Noyer definitely has a wonderfully twisted mind for horror and I definitely look forward to what he has to offer us next.
Sound of Violence is now available on cable and digital video-on-demand.