An homage to Italian giallo horror films and the mechanics of cinema itself, Berberian Sound Studio stars Toby Jones as Gilderoy, a shy Englishman who gets a job as a Foley artist on the 1970s Italian film The Equestrian Vortex, an giallo horror with typical themes of Satanism and extreme violence. Gilderoy, man more at home capturing the sounds of the English countryside, is like a fish out of water and struggles to get to grips with the Italian way of film making as well as the horrific violence on screen. Set inside a claustrophobic sound studio, the film follows Gilderoy as he slowly becomes more and more dishevelled while trying his best to create the sound to accompany the terrifying visuals, none of which are ever seen on screen.
The film reaches a critical point around seventy minutes in from where everything goes a little strange. It can be described as being without plot and its ending is confusing to say the least. The preceding hour though is amongst the best I’ve seen from a 2012 film and up until the final third it was well inside my top 10 of the year. What is good is that prior knowledge of giallo isn’t necessary in order to enjoy it. I’ve only seen one giallo film in the last year, Dario Argento’s Tenebrae, and know very little about the genre but still really liked the film.