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Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Day 115: Masters of Horror: Sounds Like

Masters of Horror: Sounds Like
I can't ear you

Personally, I like noise. Now, I'm not saying I like to hear gunshots or screams coming from the other room. I'm talking more about background and ambient noise. I prefer to sleep with music or a fan on, just so there is something going on. There's something comforting about a background that breaks the silence. Maybe it's because it stops the mind from focusing too much on the everyday problems. But what if every sound was excruciating to you? What if a scratching pen was like a rake being dragged over your brain? How would that effect you?

Masters of Horror: Sounds Like stars Chris Bauer (The Wire, Face/Off) as Larry Pearce. Larry is a quality control supervisor for a tech support call center. His job is to listen in on his worker's conversation to insure that they are meeting the customer's needs in a timely manner. Larry has an extremel ability to hear even the slightest sounds. He can hear conversations from across the room or the clicking sound of his wife Brenda's (Laura Margolis, Dirty Sexy Money, The Strangers) knitting needles. It was this ability that allowed Larry to hear that something was wrong inside his son. Despite hearing the anomaly, Larry was unable to save his son. Wracked with grief, Larry can no longer stand his wife Brenda, who desperately wants to have another child. Larry overhears a tech giving comforting personal advice to a woman caller. Rather than fire him, Larry confides in the tech and even takes him out to lunch. He is shocked when he finds out the tech reported him for being inappropriate. Larry's heightened sense of hearing gets worse, slowly driving him insane. He finally snaps when Brenda tells him she is pregnant by smashing everything making a noise in his house. The next day, sounds no longer bother him. That does not last long as the sounds become more intense with a very specific, almost squirming sound. What is the sound and what will Larry do to silence it?

"What's this horrible noise? Dubstep you say?"

While it may not seem like Sounds Like is a horror movie, in fact, it fits in very well with the Twilight Zone and The Outer Limits. You can practically hear Ron Serling's voice talking about an ordinary man with an extraordinary ability. To me, that's a very high compliment. The movie doesn't have any supernatural monsters or loads of horrific violence. It makes it's horror through the slow, agonizing torture of one man just through his sense. Chris Bauer puts on a very convincing role and without him, this movie would not have succeeded. Laura Margolis is just the right amount of annoying to make us feel like we are in Larry's shoes. When Larry hears a sound, the audience hears it too. It can be very grating, and I know that's the point, but it does become unpleasant at times. If you have sensitive ears, turn down the volume while watching.

The Masters of Horror hour-long format usually works for the short stories the movies are based on, but it felt too long for Sounds Like. Some episodes have too much crammed into them, but this movie was stretched out with not a lot of action. There is some mystery and intrigue to keep the audience from drifting into boredom, but there could have been a little bit more action. Maybe another flashback with Larry's son or an explanation of how his hearing became so sensitive. 

Larry smash!

If you're a fan of old school horror like Twilight Zone, The Outer Limits, and even Hitchcock, I think you'll enjoy Masters of Horror: Sounds Like. If you prefer monsters and bloody violence, you're be incredibly bored. The story is simple, but creative and the acting really makes the story work. The hour-long format is a bit of a stretch, but not enough to stop watching. Sounds Like is the thinking man's horror movie and worth your time.


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