How ‘The Vast of Night’ Builds Tension With a Strange Sound

12


In “Anatomy of a Scene,” we ask directors to reveal the secrets that go into making key scenes in their movies. See new episodes in the series each Friday. You can also watch our collection of more than 150 videos on YouTube and subscribe to our YouTube channel.


The period science-fiction drama “The Vast of Night” (streaming on Amazon Prime) unfolds like an eerie radio play. Its interest in using sound to propel its plot is most apparent in this sequence featuring Sierra McCormick as Fay, a switchboard operator.

The year is 1958 and it’s the night of a big game in a small fictional New Mexico town. Alone at the switchboard, Fay hears an unusual sound come through and tries to figure out what it is. And things get creepier from there.

In an interview, the director Andrew Patterson said that much of the tension of the scene comes from the tenor of McCormick’s performance.

What we were aiming to do,” he said, was “not go to the sort of extreme that you would probably expect.” He wanted the character of Fay to be grounded and calmly handle what would become an escalating situation.

The sound itself, a disturbing but sometimes calming kind of whir, was created by David Rosenblad and Johnny Marshall, who mixed in instrumentation, human throat noises and mechanical humming to come up with the effect.

Read the “Vast of Night” review.

Sign up for the Movies Update newsletter and get a roundup of reviews, news, Critics’ Picks and more.



www.nytimes.com 2020-05-29 16:26:38

Comments

This website uses cookies to improve your experience. We'll assume you're ok with this, but you can opt-out if you wish. Accept Read More