REVIEW: Sound of Violence (2021)

dir. Alex Noyer.

When she was ten Alexis (Jasmin Savoy Brown) witnessed the brutal murder of her family: an event during which she recovered her hearing and that awakened synesthetic abilities within her. Now an adult she pursues a teaching career whilst experimenting to find new sounds, the most effective being those born from vicious violence: but when she’s faced with the possibility of becoming deaf again Alexis turns to savagery for self-healing.

Writer / director Noyer’s debut crafts an interesting set-up, the protagonist elated to have regained her hearing and willing to do whatever’s necessary for it to stay that way. Alexis may be haunted by the traumatic events she saw, yet she also remains driven by the euphoric feeling which overcame her afterwards. Like the leads which populate revenge films, Alexis believes the road to healing is paved with more pain and murder.

However despite the best efforts of Jasmin Savoy Brown, there isn’t much to hook into with her character: Alexis feels too alienating – quickly leaping to cold-blooded actions – and there aren’t enough opportunities to see how drastically her life has changed, the film instead opting for large amounts of exposition. There are hints of a possible romance with her roommate Marie (Lili Simmons), yet this subplot too feels underdeveloped.

An impression emerges of various ideas being put together, a mixture of tones clashing for dominance. This is best exemplified in the brutality, with the blood-soaked opening being the most down-to-Earth moment: but as Alexis tries to preserve her hearing she deploys an overly complicated method, her weapon best described as DJ equipment mixed with a rejected Saw trap. Yet even that seems understated compared to what follows.

Credit where it’s due, some of the kills are inspired, yet each passing murder feels taken from a wackier film than the last. Mirroring this the story grows more preposterous, eventually morphing into an uninspired slasher, whilst the police are so far behind the plot one wonders why they had to be included. Ultimately what at first was an interesting tale of self-obsession is lost within the escalating madness, the ideas seeming to fall on deaf ears.

James Rodrigues

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