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By Amy R. Handler | June 15, 2013

Sirens, human sacrifice and possession are the stuff of ancient mythology and the occult. But what happens in one small town may cause you to rethink your next walk in the woods, and the people you call friends.

Nicholas Wagner’s The Holy Sound is set in a small town that could very well be anywhere. And like any little community, the people within are very ordinary. There’s a pastor, a high school teacher, and teenagers inundated with angst and fury, who believe only they have the answers to existence.

The flippant and moody Rory is typical of his age and status in this town, and like many of his friends, he wants to set himself apart from the rest, but doesn’t care to do the work to make it happen. And so he tortures his well-meaning teacher, makes life miserable for his nerdy, God-fearing young friend Sam, and doesn’t get the girl of his dreams. Each day blends uneventfully into the next until one night Rory has a dream that compels him to a certain cavern in the woods. There he sees a strange monument that emits a soothing yet terrifying sound—-and which very quickly sets off an avalanche of unimaginable horror.

The Holy Sound is not your ordinary tale of terror and the townspeople do not transform into vampires or rogue zombies, wreaking havoc at every turn. Instead, Nicholas Wagner incites something far more cunning and disturbing. He causes us to question all that we hold dear and holy. And like all great storytellers and soothsayers, Wagner only hints at answers while unlocking a wealth of possibilities.

The Holy Sound is not without cinematic flaws that impede, but do not destroy, its presentation. These include basic sound engineering issues where dialogue often becomes inaudible, and visuals that lack clarity at inopportune moments. In spite of these issues that can most likely be attributed to filmmaking inexperience, the movie’s concept is brilliantly derived, well-acted, never stagnant and provocative from beginning to end.

As for Nicholas Wagner, I’m very interested to see what he creates next.

This film was submitted for review through our Submission for Review system. If you have a film you’d like us to see, and we aren’t already looking into it on our own, you too can utilize this service.

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