Sunday, September 20, 2009

Day 234: Sounds Like (2006) - Rank 4/5


As a short film that falls into the Masters of Horror cinematic omnibus, "Sounds Like" holds itself together fairly well for the duration of an hour. While the plot could never be expanded into a feature-length film, it does lend a great deal of entertaining moments. This credit should rightly be placed on the shoulders of writer/director Brad Anderson. While Anderson may not carry the weight that other directors in the series do (Craven, Carpenter, Dante, etc.), I consider him to be one of the more unique and stylistically distinct, up-and-coming directors working in Hollywood. "Session 9" - a film that could be described as "The Shining meets an asbestos removal crew" - was fabulous proof that fresh ideas do exist in the horror genre apart from teen slasher flicks, and it was also a testament of how low-budget filmmaking can prove successful with an excellent storyline. "The Machinist" dove deeper into psychological terror, reaching a realm akin to Polanski's "Apartment Trilogy," and it provided a frightening look at the physiological transformations that Christian Bale is capable of.

"Sounds Like" focuses on Larry Pearce (Chris Bauer), an embittered manager at a call center. He finds that his hearing is inexorably increasing in sensitivity to the point that the hum of fluorescent lights drown out the conversations of others and the pitter-patter of rain practically drives him to the brink of insanity. This new found power seems to have stemmed from the death of his son, borne of the moment where he laid his ear on his son's chest and heard his irregular heartbeat for the first time. Anderson amplifies sound to the point that the inaudible reaches a "nails on a chalkboard" intolerability for Larry and the viewer. Many of such moments seem inspired by Lynch's trademark filmmaking. While Larry's eventual descent into madness seems both predictable, as well as illogical, Anderson still builds excellent suspense to keep you engaged.

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