Written by: Alex Noyer
Starring: Jasmin Savoy Brown, Lili Simmons, James Jagger, Tessa Munro
Certain pleasures in life come with no explanation or reasoning leaving the onus lies on the individual to act upon them depending on how it impacts others. Sound of Violence, while seeking to explore the deprivation of certain sensations, unfortunately, gets lost in its gratuitousness to the point where it has no heart and essentially becomes an unfortunate exercise to sit through.
Experiencing a horrific incident in her home as a young girl, Alexis (Jasmin Savoy Brown) discovers she gets an incredible sensation when hearing others in pain. From what begins as a hobby then becomes an all-out obsession of feeding this hunger at all costs, even inflicting the pain on others.
During several segments, Sound of Violence contains some exquisite visuals displaying exactly how Alexis feels when she hears the pain of others. In a sense, it brought back her hearing dating back to the traumatizing experience when younger. The euphoria it brings her cannot be questioned, especially to the lengths to which she goes to achieve it. However, it gets to a certain point with the story where it just remains about this gratuitous killing and the film fails to nail down the whole point of this experience.
As the film progressed, I was waiting for when the film would shift to actually speaking on its message in some sort of way, but unfortunately, it never really goes anywhere outside Alexis’s insatiable craving to hear the pain of others. Could this be the full extent of the feature with it premiering in the midnight section of the SXSW film festival? Sure, but it still does not make for a competent film in the slightest, which ultimately ails the decent performance put forth by the leading actor. Jasmin Savoy Brown certainly tries her best with this role but she ultimately gets betrayed by the shoddy material and the lack of depth it gives its lead character nevertheless the lesser characters meant to represent the carnage Alexis causes with her craving for violence.
Taking a look at this euphoric sensation begins this gradual incline to the point where Alexis just murders people to achieve this high. It begins as strangely as paying a dominant in a BDSM set up to inflict pain on her submissive while Alexis and her friend record it. The harder the dom whips the sub, the more of this euphoric feeling Alexis receives even to the point where the other individuals involved need to cut her off. This sits as the first clue that her insatiable hunger to hear pain can only go so far through legal means and she needs to go about getting this feeling in a crueler way. The issue in this progression comes from the film Alexis losing all forms of humanity in this effort. Rarely through this experience does she show an inch of apprehension or regret of this pain she’s causing. It shifts the character from being someone we can somewhat sympathize with knowing her past to becoming an all-out sociopathic killer.
With Alexis losing any sort of connection with the audience, who’s left for the audience to connect with? The best friend who gets a handful of lines of dialogue, the friend’s sexual partner who receives even less? As the film continues to progress, it proves to be an exercise in how strange these kill sequences can get and while it may float the boat for some, Sound of Violence evidently proved to be something I could not get behind in even the slightest way.
Once the dust settles and all of the kills have been completed, the film just leaves this emptiness in its wake where I found myself questioning exactly what I just watched. Each minute spent waiting for it to turn around with all of the benefit of the doubt I could muster did not pay me back well enough, especially in its incredibly flat conclusion offering no real resolution or justification for everything happening prior to its final sequence. The conclusion only further displays the lack of any attempt in telling a coherent or emotionally resonant story. Sound of Violence is just blood and gore simply for the sake of it. Just an all-out blunder in my estimation and something that simply needed to add some sort of substance rather than just its lackluster flair.