Masters of Horror: Sounds Like (DVD)
Directed by Brad Anderson
Distributed by Anchor Bay Entertainment
Stop. Listen. That’s all you have to do. There are so many people that feel the only way to feel alive is to fill the world with noise. They associate noise with life and silence with death. However, in the case of Larry Pearce (Bauer), silence is everything. The quite lets him live and think.
Larry has been granted the gift of extraordinary hearing. Nothing can escape his sensitive ears. He can even hear you texting on your phone from a mile away. For normal folks this would be a great blessing, but Larry finds it to be a curse. He discovered his talent only when it was too late to catch the heart problem that claimed his son’s life.
Now Larry spends his time in constant mourning while his wife tries to move on by attempting to have another child. This has never sat well with him. Not only is his woman annoying and slightly nuts, but she just doesn’t understand that he wants to preserve the memory of his son, not replace him.
These ongoing problems eventually drive Larry’s hearing to become far more powerful. It also is starting to drive him insane. What kind of solution can you provide to a loving father who refuses to let go? How far is he willing to go to maintain the silence he so desperately wants?
Wow! Out of all the episodes this season, "Sounds Like" just isn’t horror. Though this entry never fits into our genre until the last couple scenes, that does not mean that this should be skipped. "Sounds Like" is a very strong, emotional story about loss and the madness that follows.
Chris Bauer reacts perfectly to his condition and emotional downfall. A connection can be made easily to his character through both the rough and smooth times. Hell, you can even feel sorry for him when he’s bashing baby mice with a hammer. That is aided with the help of the sound department.
Sounds are almost as important as emotion in "Sounds Like". We need to feel Larry’s pain as every tiny, insignificant sound becomes a sonic boom in this man’s brain. The sound engineers accomplish this with flying colors. At times I was covering my ears. How this man never committed suicide is amazing.
What isn’t as amazing as this episode is the commentary with director Brad Anderson. While Mr. Anderson is a great person to put in charge of this kind of storytelling, he just isn’t fun to listen to. Brad’s voice is monotone and never shows any sign of excitement. Sure, what he is telling us is informative with little dead space, but after you’ve just watch a story dedicated to sounds you’d expect much more noise.
One could probably watch this episode two or three times (with or without the commentary) just for the hell of it, but eventually the time comes to move on and see what else is on this disc you purchased. Aural Madness: The Making of Sounds Like is the first of these things you can encounter after listening to Brad Anderson. This is your basic making-of featurette that just never delivers on what it should. Being that this entry of MoH is more sound based than anything else we should have been given a look into the audio engineering department to see how they created all the ear shattering sounds Chris Bauer had to react to. The hints Mr. Anderson gave as to how many combinations of various sounds were created for just one thing like rain during the commentary really makes this featurette feel like a missed opportunity.
Rounding out the last of the featurettes is The Cacophony of Sounds Like.... Here we’re introduced to the scariest thing to find its way into the MoH series: The Fish Wrangler! From the depths of hell comes a man whose sole job is to catch and place sad looking fish into the camera’s frame. What depths will Masters stoop to next?! My god! The horror!
"Sounds Like" could very well be the best episode of this season, followed closely by "Pelts". The story may lack gore until the very last few scenes, but there is real horror to be found in the situation of the main character. Sometimes heartbreak and madness are the scariest things in the world. Sometimes. Other times it just could be the smell of your eyes burning during Lasik surgery.
4 1/2 out of 5
3 1/2 out 5
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