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The Sound Review

The Sound is a 2017 horror film about a supernatural skeptic who sets off to debunk paranormal sightings using low frequency sound waves in an abandoned subway station and is met with unforeseen evil and eerie memories.

The modern horror film has become a sort of portal for which new filmmakers tend to emerge, a testing grounds for first time directors to prove their worth. With a huge increase in VOD accessibility and connectivity to a growing fan base, horror movies are juggernauts that many rightfully take very seriously, giving them even greater exposure, and perhaps for the people behind the film, a few more open doors. Now comes Jenna Mattison‘s The Sound, a debut effort that works hard to combine contemporary sensibilities with a classical feel, and while it remains a low key, often still experience, has plenty of good moments that help make it feel a little fresh.

Kelly Johansen (Rose McGowan) is a ghost-hunting skeptic, a young woman with science on her side, who uses social media as a platform to take down and debunk claims of hauntings and spirits. She knows about the power of sound, especially at certain frequencies, ones that can cause auditory hallucinations, even experiencing them herself, and proves them to be the source of the ‘ghosts’ causing all the trouble. Her latest case takes her to an abandoned run of the Toronto subway, where it’s said a spectre is thought to exist. Journeying into the darkness, she encounters horrors that she explains away, using Twitter as her voice. She meets up with a detective named Richards (Michael Eklund) who is on the case himself, and a spooky subway employee called Clinton Jones (Christopher Lloyd).

One of the most enduring tropes of any ghost story is the habit of its main characters to venture into places most people would never dare alone, beit a black forest, a derelict house, or whatever the plot calls for, almost always at night. No change here as Kelly traipses into the bowels of the subway with only a faulty flashlight and her sound equipment. That’s part and parcel for the genre and as cliché as it is, it’s become a necessary narrative device, stacked with the usual mysteries and jump scares. Ghost hunting and paranormal “experts” have become part of the current cultural landscape, and films have taken to giving them plenty of screentime as well, and while The Sound at least puts some legit science behind it, still can’t overcome all the tropes of the genre itself.

Kelly at least is an interesting character, one layered with plenty of backstory and weight of her own as we come to find out. She doesn’t talk much, expressing herself through her Twitter account and blog, these thoughts played out on screen as she types. She’s got a large following who encourage her to explore more, and while this is not so much a new thing in movies, does keep the storyline intact. As such though, as she is mostly alone for the entire movie, it is a very quiet film, and even more so, dark. She sits in the shadows typing for long stretches of the runtime, learning about the bleak history of the station. It makes for a lengthy wait until there’s any real action, but at least Mattison commits to the premise and finds ways to make it mostly work.

The Sound has good ideas and a strong performance from McGowan but is nothing like the bombastic, jump scare-filled horror films stuffed in the genre, this a dark, psychological test of patience that trades traditional horror momentum for quiet hallucinatory breakdown. That’s not a bad thing. It simply lacks the larger punch.

The Sound Review

Movie description: The Sound is a 2017 horror film about a supernatural skeptic who sets off to debunk paranormal sightings using low frequency sound waves in an abandoned subway station and is met with unforeseen evil and eerie memories.

Director(s): Jenna Mattison

Actor(s): Rose McGowan, Christopher Lloyd, Michael Eklund

Genre: Horror

  • Our Score
User Rating 3 (2 votes)
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