Sound of Violence writer and director Alex Noyer shares insight about the inspirations for the movie’s music-themed kills.
Sound of Violence, a 2021 selection of SXSW Film Festival, is a slasher horror film inspired by music. The story follows Alexis (Jasmin Savoy Brown), who has a unique and twisted relationship with sound and music. After regaining the ability to hear after the childhood death of her parents, Alexis combines violence and musical contraptions to achieve the auditory and visual rush that the gruesome deaths of her victims provide as well as to create new experimental sounds for her own music.
The Geekiary sat down with writer and director Alex Noyer, who provided insight into coming up with such unique kill sequences for the movie, the production process, and the importance of the human element of the story.
The Geekiary: What was your inspiration for the movie?
Alex Noyer: The movie really traced all the way back to a documentary I produced called “808,” which is a documentary I made about the 808 drum machine. It was lots of fun but took over five years of my life, I was a bit drum machined obsessed. After that, after about eight years working in documentaries, I felt I needed a change. My wife recommended that I get into my first love, which is horror movies. As a transition, I decided to kill somebody with a drum machine. So that’s when I created the short film “Conductor,” and after a festival run, a lot of questions were asked about the character of Alexis. I felt that I could expand, so it inspired the feature, “Sound of Violence.”
TG: In addition to the drum kill, how did you come up will all of the different kill scenes in the movie?
Noyer: By having a lot of fun. We had kind of set an experimental side in motion with the short film, which has the drum machine and chair. We wanted to have that in there, but we knew we had to create other expansion or shifting the paradigm of instruments as weapons. I had to dig deep and not only find instruments that could, the way they functioned, inspire a contraption but also a sound that would fit the music that we were going for.
There were a lot of ideas that didn’t make it, and we really narrowed it down to a real test of how gruesome we could make an instrument sound while keeping it musical and turning the destruction it causes into music as well. It was a very experimental journey, and it was a lot of fun. My composers Jaakko Mannien, Alexander Burke, and Omar El-Deeb, and my sound recorder and mixer, Jussi Tegelman had their work cut out to make it work and I’m so proud of them because they did.
TG: Do you care to share some of the ones that didn’t make the cut?
Noyer: There’s one or two that might be reused in the future, so those I won’t share. I explored string instruments like violins and guitars. I had one with a saxophone as well that just could not even be physically done in terms of shooting it. I really went with everything. We ended up having a piano in the film it made a very nice scene, I had a piano in one of my weird ideas which was very much using the ambivalence of the keyboard, and what one would do versus the other. I’m not a musician, so this was a really a naïve way of approaching it, but I had a lot of fun. Every time I had an idea, I would call Hannu [Aukia], my producing partner, or Jaakko, the lead composer, and say “can we do this?” They probably think I’m completely crazy.
TG: During production, what were your favorite scenes to film and what were your most challenging ones to film?
Noyer: My favorite scenes to shoot are the scenes between Alexis and Marie. For all of the challenge of shooting horror, I felt the human element of the story, the real relationship between those two was such an important part to get right. The chemistry that we had between Jasmin and Lili was phenomenal and every time we shot them, it felt something special was going on. It really gave something different to the story than just the crazy wow factor of the horror. I did love shooting those.
Challenge wise, I would say the finale was extremely testing because it was exterior, we had a lot of extras, and there’s a whole bunch of things going on. Also, the practical effects were very challenging because of the weight and again, that came down to the actors really pushing through.
Finally, I’ll mention the art gallery. I’m the son of an artist, I’m surrounded by artists my whole life, I hang out in art galleries very often. Creating that scene was extremely, extremely fun and the scene we created was sort of this Giallo-esque homage and the art on the wall was from a friend of mine as well, the artist Adam Mars. There was a lot that I enjoyed there… I really loved shooting this movie. Every part of it.
TG: What do you want the audience to take away from this movie?
Noyer: First and foremost, I would love the audience to arrive, before watching this movie, to take the hand brake off and not to assume anything. I believe that this is an experimental journey that we need to absolutely live with Alexis, who’s an artist rather than a killer. Coming out of it, I tend to think they will feel conflicted. It is a gruesome horror journey, of course, which is at the core of the story, but at the same time, the character moments make them wonder if they don’t perhaps understand parts of her motivation. I’m not saying forgive, but at least understand.
Sound of Violence will be available on VOD platforms beginning May 21.
Author: Jessica Wolff
Jessica Wolff is a graduate of Drexel University with a BS in Film/Video. She has a passion for entertainment and representation in entertainment. She currently resides outside of Washington, DC.
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