If you want to feel what going insane is like without actually going insane, boy I have a movie for you. Masking Threshold by Johannes Grenzfurthner is incredible, nauseating, sick, depraved and one-hundred percent directly in your face. That being said, you know damn well, we loved it to death.
Masking Threshold tells the story of a bored, skeptic IT professional who decides to lock himself in his apartment. He does so in order to conduct a study to figure out why he has tinnitus or at least to discover the root of said hearing deficiency.
The film’s intro is the subject going over the equipment that he will use to film his experiments for some sort of quantifiable truth. The filming equipment is primarily made up of macro-lenses. Basically, anything you see here are the tools that are used to lead us down the path of madness.
These lenses are the true horror of the film. We as an audience are locked in this room with him and this incredibly tight focus. So, the entire runtime of the film is maddeningly a series of beautifully harrowing shots that are from an entirely macro perspective.
Along with the macro turn, we also have a keen sense of audio throughout. Since this is a study on tinnitus, we are thrown into a world where all sounds are amplified and the maddening ring, hum and ping of tinnitus is constant and fluctuating.
Sound like it will drive you crazy? Well, it will. There have been a variety of Lovecraftian films as of late, but Masking Threshold truly gets to the core of that mechanic by way of locking an audience in a room with a character straight out of a Lovecraft story and places a macro focus entirely on him.
The film is working on multiple levels of a maddening state of obsession as well. Obsessions that take an individual or online hive mind to the brink of absolute loss of logic. Toxic fandoms and masculinity are definitely at play within the walls of this threshold.
I’m all about watching films that are new. Dark places that we haven’t been before. Sick shit that is challenging. Masking Threshold lives in that arena and doesn’t flinch for its entire runtime. Instead, masterful audio and cinematography pulls you deeper into its framework.
Masking Threshold doesn’t have any limits and it constantly pushes the boundaries by either a gross-out close up or several well written and glued together slices of existential dialogue that Thomas Ligotti would be extremely in love with.
A study having to do with this dude’s hearing ends up engulfing him and taking him down the path of true, suffocating madness and into the realm of gory, unflinching horror… the way we like it.
Masking Threshold is unlike anything you have seen before. It’s a dose of pure insanity that is constantly brought home by macro focus and audio that pushes you all of the damn place. It is never insanity without a multilayered source. The entirety feels dangerous and a lot like riding in a race car with no seatbelt of framework. Grenzfurthner’s work is the pure language of a madman but the kind of madman that iHorror and Fantastic Fest love to death.