Though writer-director Jenna Mattison's debut feature has a slim story and very little dialogue, she brings heft to her atmospheric horror exercise "The Sound" just by cranking up the bass.
A small but accomplished cast is led by Rose McGowan as Kelly Johansen, a paranormal investigator — or, more accurately, debunker — who uses advanced sonic equipment to prove that her clients aren't experiencing anything supernatural.
Very early in the film, Kelly travels to Toronto to pursue rumors of ghosts haunting an abandoned subway spur. As she ventures deeper into the dark, the committed skeptic starts seeing things she can't explain, and confronts secrets from the past that had been long-suppressed.
"The Sound" takes some third-act turns toward woo-woo spirituality, which come across as fairly abrupt — in large part because the plot's too paltry to pay that off. The movie mostly consists of Kelly creeping through dimly lighted tunnels, spotting apparitions whenever the light flickers.
But McGowan is excellent in what she's claimed will be her last acting role; and Christopher Lloyd is equally memorable as one of the lost souls the heroine encounters in Toronto's labyrinthine underground.
Mostly, "The Sound" gets by on pure sensation. Mattison finds a lot to look at in the shadows — and in the heavy hum of the subway's deep holes, she finds a lot to hear.
Running time: 1 hour, 32 minutes
Playing: Arena Cinelounge Sunset, Hollywood