Watching a character descend into psychotic insanity is nothing new for the horror genre; we have seen it in recognized classicsRepulsion), older indie fare (Fighter clash), even newer movies (Censor), and has proven to be a good backdrop for very different movies. But I’ve never seen one made like Masking threshold, which tells his story almost entirely through one man’s rambling thoughts over close-up macro images of the work he’s doing. You never get a full look at his face and only a few brief seconds occur outside of the makeshift lab he has set up at his home, making the film incredibly ambitious and remarkably confined at the same time.
Our anonymous Protagonist (the credits list him as Protagonist only) is an IT guy who has taken a few days off from work to understand and hopefully cure his hearing impairment, supposedly an advanced form of tinnitus. Anyone who has ever become obsessed with any aspect of their own health can probably relate to the character while testing theories, making charts to track changes, etc., although hopefully their own journey doesn’t end in bloodshed and tragedy. .
As he becomes more and more determined to resolve his ailment, he closes himself off to the world, soundproofing the walls, and ignores the calls from his mother and his increasingly irate boss (you will find that it was a long time after his vacation before let it be). finally fired). In the end, it goes too far, of course; You can’t really see any of that, but in the end, there’s a death count.
If worn with lenses traditionally, the movie would probably look something like William Friedkin’s. Insect (or, coincidentally, the third act of the unrelated Insect by Jeannot Szwarc), with the main character’s amount of allowed personal space shrinking along with his grip on reality, and it might not be as compelling. But when it’s all about what amounts to POV shots or selfies (framed from the neck down) alongside an uninterrupted voice-over (the body of the film is actually that of director / co-writer Johannes Grenzfurthner, but the voice belongs to actor Ethan Haslam), the viewer gets a first-person perspective on the character’s mental decline. When you actually murder someone, it feels inevitable because you’ve been aware of and perhaps sympathized with every little thing that led up to that moment, removing the element of shock that might have accompanied the action in a more conventional version of these events.
But this approach also allows it to really get under your skin. There is some laughs scattered all over the place (look for the word “shrapnel” and a delightful rendition of Weird Al) but it may start to mystify him early on and basically never let go as he’s a bit “stuck” with the introduction and , basically turn on your head for 90 minutes.
When a neighbor comes over to check on you, you may feel uncomfortable realizing that you, too, are bothered by the interruption. Anyone who has been working from home for the last year and a half can probably relate to the idea of a housemate or neighbor breaking their train of thought, but it’s rare to see someone pull off that exact form of frustration in a movie. fictional.
As for violence, I think I should point out that on the way a pet goes off, as well as a handful of humans and some insects. An ant was actually killed for one scene, but the other bits of insecticide were faked with CGI or some other trick (in the question and answer session, the filmmaker told a story about asking to find something that looks like salt but doesn’t actually would harm a slug). when poured over it). For what was probably a very low budget production, they certainly didn’t skimp on prosthetic effects; As you may have already guessed from the film’s photography description, you see these things up close so they had to be top-notch and the makeup / FX team certainly delivered. There’s a cut … let’s just call it a sensitive body part, which I hope I wasn’t the only one trying not to inspect it too closely.
Naturally, this will be difficult to sell to the public; Even some folks at Fantastic Fest, which is basically aimed at audiences not very interested in conventionally told tales, lost interest when I told them how it was filmed (given that this year’s festival is stripped / sparsely populated, in I haven’t actually been able to talk to anyone who saw it, as I didn’t recognize anyone else in the theater during my screening).
Scientific talk could also be a hindrance. I admit I didn’t fully understand some of the lingo, and while you don’t actually need to follow it to the letter (as long as you understand the gist, i.e. you’re testing sounds), that could be a problem for viewers. Interestingly, it reminded me of Primer, which similarly had a lot of talk about physics that one didn’t necessarily need to understand, but can still make you feel a bit silly for long periods (funnily enough, I did this mental comparison and then later in the movie the lead offered the same ” Russian pencil “anecdote that is present in Primer).
Hopefully, people can see past this little “blemish” and focus on the bigger picture. The teaser is available to anyone curious if they can handle the presentation, and I’d say the 30 seconds it shows is pretty much what the full movie is, albeit with a 15-second gap in the narration that doesn’t. I see. I think it exists in the movie (I wondered more than once what was Haslam’s pill budget).
For me, I can’t even think of another movie experience like that. Grenzfurthner deserves some kind of award for how well he fully engaged with what seems like a nightmarish set of constraints to a filmmaker and used them to his advantage. It’s not my favorite film of the festival, but probably the one that sticks in my head the longest.
There are currently no release details available for Masking threshold.