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By Matthew Roe | October 26, 2021

SCREAMFEST 2021 REVIEW! Misophonia is a condition in which those suffering become panicked, angry, or disgusted by trigger sounds caused by other people. This could be something like tapping fingers on a desk, popping bubble gum, or rhythmically drumming with a pencil. I wouldn’t say that I suffer from misophonia, but sometimes when someone chews loudly near me, there is an immediate repulsive reaction which ripples through to the marrow of my bones. But what if that reaction was because your subconscious was steadily adding weight to your mind? That’s the premise we are given in Julianna Robinson’s short film, Misophonia.

Grace (Abby Eiland) returns home after the funeral of her husband (John Gloria). While she attempts to host her friend Mona (Julianna Robinson) with a simple pot of tea, she is increasingly plagued by the ever-constant sound of chewing. Days pass, and she cannot suss out a source, nearly accosting an exterminator (Kelly Perine) who tells her that no rats are living within the walls of Grace’s home. He adds that he cannot and does not hear what she does.

“…[Grace] is increasingly plagued by the ever-constant sound of chewing.”

The premise for Misophonia intrinsically skirts the line between comedy and horror, with the final product leaning much heavier into the former genre in order to draw in its audience. While dialogue between characters almost always comes with a welcome grain of camp, especially when a flashback sequence dons the appearance of a 1950s situational comedy, it is balanced out by Matthew Kohnen’s cinematography, designed fully to accentuate the uncanny valley of Grace’s deteriorating mental state. This culminates in a climactic scene in which a warped wide-angle lens captures a meltdown within one take, the camera posed as if it were a bystander powerless to intervene.

Misophonia is a modern, mental health take of Edgar Allen Poe’s The Tell-Tale Heart, and the short certainly wears this influence on its sleeve. Its plot mobility echoes the classic story, and screenwriters Sean Kohnen and Julianna Robinson, along with the cast, do an admirable job in putting their own spin on the material. While boasting only a handful of tense moments, the horror film is a fun dark comedy experience that’s better when you’re with a group of friends.

Misophonia screened at the 2021 Los Angeles Screamfest.

Misophonia (2021)

Directed: Julianna Robinson

Written: Sean Kohnen, Julianna Robinson

Starring: Abby Eiland, John Gloria, Julianna Robinson, Kelly Perine, etc.

Movie score: 7/10

Misophonia Image

"…intrinsically skirts the line between comedy and horror..."

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