Sound of Violence Movie Review

Written by Joel Harley

Released by Dazzler Media


Written and directed by Alex Noyer
2021, 85 minutes, Rated 18 (UK)
FrightFest UK Premiere on 29th August 2021

Jasmine Savoy Brown as Alexis Reeves
Lili Simmons as Marie Sotker
James Jagger as Duke
Tessa Munro as Sonya Fuentes


After witnessing the brutal murder of her family as a ten-year-old, Alexis (Jasmin Savoy Brown) seems to have recovered well from the trauma. Now a teacher and researcher into experimental new sounds, Alexis uses music as a kind of healing mechanism, restoring not only her mental health but also her hearing, lost as a child. The problem with Alexis’s miracle cure? The sounds that Alexis needs for her ‘music’ can only be found in the agonised death throes of her unsuspecting victims.

The Reasonably Put-Together Person Going Off the Rails trope is a common one, deeply ingrained in horror history from Psycho onwards. Rarely, however, does that person get to be a woman. The balance is redressed slightly in this gory slasher film by director Alex Noyer. Based on his short film Conductor, it follows Alexis’s descent into depravity as she revels in the sound of violence. You may scoff, but there are YouTubers out there making millions from recording gross sounds and calling it ASMR.

sound of violence 01 sound of violence 02

Unable to decide whether it wants to be a modern video nasty or a somewhat classy psycho thriller, Sound of Violence veers between both. It’s Velvet Buzzsaw without the cloying humour; a Saw movie with the lights turned on. Like Alexis, it projects a veneer of respectability… until it suddenly doesn’t.

Sound of Violence subverts the old trope of having a troubled, traumatised white guy murdering a bunch of hobos and schmucks, largely by having a woman of colour murdering the hobos and schmucks instead. Slasher fans will find precious little else that hasn’t been done before, but Noyer remixes the film’s influences well. Its gore sequences are creative, the set pieces nicely staged. Given the overall tone, the level of gore is surprising – the kills more intricately staged than one might have expected. At moments, it even threatens to out-Saw the Saw franchise.

sound of violence 03 sound of violence 04

All of this would be for naught if the film’s sound department didn’t hold up its end. The music by Alexander Burke, Omar El-Deeb and Jaako Manninen does a good job of evoking Alexis’s fragmented mental state. The six-person strong sound department handle the squelchier, bone-crunching sounds of violence, reminiscent of 2012’s Berberian Sound Studio. Visually, it’s less impressive, but it depicts Alexis’s synesthesia in style.

When it comes to Alexis herself, the film is slight, giving only perfunctory insight as to what makes her tick, nor what it means to live, either as a deaf person or with synesthesia. Brown is a likeable presence, but Alexis feels underdeveloped, especially as the film enters its final act. Noyer’s history as a documentarian – having made a whole film about drums - serves him well when it comes to the nuts and bolts of the music, but less so when it comes to Alex.

sound of violence 05 sound of violence 06

Sound of Violence offers mostly surface level insight when it comes to character, childhood trauma or the synesthesia condition. As a horror comedy and slasher movie, it’s all over the place. Like Alexis, it’s at its most interesting and insightful when it gives in to its worst impulses and lets the healing sounds of violence do all of the talking.


Movie: 3 Star Rating Cover

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Joel Harley
Staff Reviewer
Haribo fiend, Nicolas Cage scholar and frequently functioning alcoholic. These are just some of the words which can be used to describe Joel Harley. The rest, he uses to write film criticism for Horror DNA and a variety of websites and magazines. Sometimes he manages to do so without swearing.
Other articles by this writer



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