Directed by: #JohannesGrenzfurthner
A sceptic, yet intelligent, IT worker conducts a series of experiments in an attempt to cure his harrowing hearing impairment, but how far will one person go to achieve success and how much of himself will he lose along the way?
Masking Threshold (2021) is an experimental horror film with the chilling tagline ‘try as we may to make a silence, we cannot’ and has, at the time of writing, won five awards. Three accolades include Feature Film, Original Score and Sound Editing/Sound Mixing, with Feature Film and Cinematography won at the IndieFEST Film Awards. The movie solely takes place in one room, exhibiting a unique blend of chamber play, DIY YouTube and scientific procedural filmmaking and demonstrates an exceptional achievement in creating a claustrophobic, harrowing horror which is likely to make even the most strong willed viewer squeamish.
The film immediately establishes itself within the first few moments, as we are treated to an effective montage of the unnamed protagonist setting up his home workshop. Played by director and writer Johannes Grenzfurthner, but voiced by Ethan Haslam, the man, whose full body we never see for an hour and thirty minutes, suffers from tinnitus and medical science claims there is no cure. He develops a video log documentary as he shuts himself away from the world and we learn of his already isolated mindset as a gay man who also identifies as a geek and doesn’t appear to have any strong relationships in his life, resenting his parents.
Florian Hofer’s stunning cinematography, Grenzfurthner strategic direction and Lenja Gathmann’s riveting sound design are the key triumphs of the film. From the first frame, we become completely immersed into this dark, disturbing narrative of one ordinary man beginning to lose his grip on sanity as his obsession with acquiring knowledge destroys him. Extreme close ups and harsh editing make the smallest, mundane activities of cracking an egg with a knife or eating takeaway piazza appear violent and foreboding. The protagonist’s descent into something deeply sinister is carefully signposted when he begins to eat food powder mix instead of real food and restricts his interactions with people, blocking his mother when she continues to contact him. His experiments become more and more macabre as he focuses on living organisms with fire ants and slugs, eventually moving on to worse.
The torturous spiral of existentialism and decay is captured at every intimate detail, climaxing in a gory body horror nightmare with visceral, grisly visuals on full display. Although a feature length dialogue heavy film set in one room may be a turn off for some, especially in light of the unsettling content not for the faint of heart, Masking Threshold succeeds as one of the most original and disturbing horror flicks out there. The film is an intimate character study, making the most mundane everyday activities scary; combined with its excellent technical achievements makes this movie a must watch for any horror addicts.
Masking Threshold (2021) trailer: