Masking Threshold


Masking Threshold is an Austrian horror film[1] directed by Johannes Grenzfurthner. The film was produced by art group monochrom.

Masking Threshold
Masking Threshold (2021), movie poster.png
Masking Threshold (2021), movie poster
Directed byJohannes Grenzfurthner
Written byJohannes Grenzfurthner, Samantha Lienhard
Produced byGuenther Friesinger, Jasmin Hagendorfer, Julianne Gabert, Johannes Grenzfurthner
CinematographyFlorian Hofer
Music byTina "Tina 303" Gruensteidl, Mathias Augdoppler
Distributed byDrafthouse Films
Release date
  • September 2021 (2021-09) (Fantastic Fest)
Running time
90 minutes


A skeptic IT worker tries to cure his harrowing hearing impairment by conducting a series of experiments in his makeshift home lab.[2][3]

The film combines the style of a chamber play, a scientific procedural, and the aesthetic of unboxing or DIY YouTube videos, with body horror elements and techniques known from experimental film. Grenzfurthner sees the film in the tradition of extreme cinema,[4] but presents elements of psychological horror.

In an interview with Thomas Kaestle, Grenzfurthner talks about his motivation.

Masking Threshold is a film about a suffering but stubborn and willful person whose perspective of the world and whose beliefs are turned upside down, whose dogmas are turned against the world and against himself. My protagonist is queer, so you want to understand the societal pressures on him, you want to understand the trauma he's been through and the burden of his terrible illness. But there comes a point when sympathy for him turns to horror. [...] There have been a few excellent attempts to bring Cosmicism to the screen, but most of the time it seems cheap. The wonderful thing about weird fiction is that we can't really imaginethe horror, that the transdimensional evil just isn't the tentacle monster that looks ridiculous as an FX puppet or as a rendered CGI representation. I've never wanted to show what my protagonist is actually talking about and what the danger looks like. But I did want to show what it drives him to do.[5]


Masking Threshold features Ethan Haslam as the nameless protagonist and Katharina Rose as Dana. All other cast members do not perform, but are images on the protagonist's cellphone or on photographs and print-outs.

Release and distributionEdit

Masking Threshold had its world premiere at Fantastic Fest 2021 in Austin, Texas.[6] Annick Mahnert, the programming director, published her decision:

Once in a while as a programmer, you come across a movie that is so special and different from anything you've seen that it sticks with you. Masking Threshold has been haunting me since I saw it, and for a long time I wondered if you, dear Fantastic Fest audience, were ready for it. But isn't it the role of a programmer to take chances and be bold? You may want to burn me at the stake for programming Masking Threshold, but I'll gladly hand you the gasoline and the matches to light the pyre.[7]

Other festivals like Molins Horror Film Festival (2021),[8][9] A Night of Horror (2021),[10] Nightmares Film Festival (2021),[11] Feratum Film Festival (2021),[12] South African Horrorfest (2021),[13] Cucalorus Film Festival,[14] Saskatoon Fantastic Film Festival,[15] Sick 'n' Wrong Film Festival, Shockfest, Film Maudit 2.0, Central Florida Film Festival, Unnamed Footage Festival[16] in San Francisco, Offscreen Film Festival[17] in Brussels, Diagonale 2022 in Graz, Panic Fest 2002,[18] and Fantaspoa 2002[19] presented the movie.

Masking Threshold will be distributed by Drafthouse Films.[20][21]


Critical responseEdit

Critical response has been positive. The film holds a 100% approval rating on the review aggregator website Rotten Tomatoes, with a weighted average of 8.5/10.[22] Horror Movies Uncut (5/5) concludes: "Each decade must have one film that truly disturbs even the most avid horror watcher and Masking Threshold may just be that film."[23] Bradley Gibson of Film Threat (9/10) says that "it will test your sanity. [...] Despite, or perhaps because of, the graphic imagery, this feature is a brilliant look at obsession and the possible grisly endpoint of reductio ad absurdum."[24] UK Film Review (5/5) describes it as "a claustrophobic, harrowing horror which is likely to make even the most strong willed viewer squeamish."[25] iHorror says: "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."[26] Brian Collins of What To Watch (4/5) states: "For me, I can't even think of another moviegoing experience like it. Grenzfurthner deserves some kind of award for how well he fully committed to what seems like a nightmarish set of limitations for a filmmaker and used them to his advantage."[27] Andrew Stover of Film Inquiry summarizes: "The warped, claustrophobic horror of Masking Threshold is wholly original, making it one of the best horror films of the year. Grenzfurthner’s grim, artsy horror film is unforgettable."[28] KPFK's Film Club calls it "brilliantly nightmarish."[29] Film critic Brandon Judell praises the film's screenplay as one of best of recent years: "With the superb cinematography of Florian Hofer, and the awe-inducing editing by both Grenzfurthner and Hofer, Masking Threshold is a wry, dissective look at modern society's derangement."[30]


  • The Film from Hell - Best of the Festival at Nightmares Film Festival 2021 (Columbus, Ohio)
  • Best Screenplay at A Night of Horror International Film Festival 2021 (Sydney)[31] (for Johannes Grenzfurthner and Samantha Lienhard)
  • Being Different Award at Terror Molins 2021 (Spain)[32]
  • Golden Stake Award at Shockfest 2021
  • Best International Science Fiction and Fantasy Feature at Feratum Film Fest (Mexico)[33]
  • Best Screenplay at South African Horrorfest 2021 (for Johannes Grenzfurthner and Samantha Lienhard)[34]
  • Best Cinematography at South African Horrorfest 2021 (for Florian Hofer)[34]
  • Best Editing at South African Horrorfest 2021 (for Johannes Grenzfurthner and Florian Hofer)[34]
  • Best Feature Film at the British Horror Film Festival 2021[35]
  • Best Trailer at Indie House 2022
  • Best Feature Film at Film Maudit 2.0 2022 (Los Angeles)
  • Best Editing of the Festival at Unnamed Footage Festival 2022 (San Francisco)

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ Gingold, Michael. "Exclusive teaser, photos, comments: The existential unease of "MASKING THRESHOLD"". Rue Morgue. Retrieved 31 August 2018.
  2. ^ Dax, Patrick. "Die dunkle Seite des Nerds". Futurezone. Retrieved 31 August 2018.
  3. ^ "Converting Sound into Dangerous Visions". SavagePlanets. Retrieved 31 August 2018.
  4. ^ Interview with Johannes Grenzfurthner on; 22 November 2021
  5. ^ Kaestle, Thomas. "The World as Tinnitus". Film Threat. Retrieved 2 November 2021.
  6. ^ "Fantastic Fest 2021 Final Final Wave" in: Collider, 9 September 2021.
  7. ^ Review of Masking Threshold by Annick Mahnert on the Fantastic Fest website
  8. ^ "La edición más ambiciosa de TerrorMolins contará con 200 títulos y 60 invitados" (in Spanish). 2021-10-28. Retrieved 2021-10-30.
  9. ^ Terror Molins press release
  10. ^ A Night of Horror International Film Festival press release
  11. ^ Nightmarish Conjurings, "Nightmares Film Festival unveils full 2021 program"; 27 September 2021
  12. ^ Feratum Film Fest 2021; Masking Threshold (Spanish: Umbral de Enmascarado)
  13. ^ SA Horrorfest 2021 Festival Kicks Off Today; in: Screen Anarchy, 2021-10-28
  14. ^ "Cucalorus Film Festival Fosters Beautiful, Diverse Community of Art Lovers through Four Days of Movies, Music, & Dance"; in: CVNC, 14 November 2021
  15. ^ "Saskatoon Fantastic Film Fest returns with a focus on folk horror"; by Amanda Short, in: The Star Phoenix, 18 November 2021
  16. ^ "Unnamed Footage Festival Announces Full Line-Up for 2022 Edition!". Dread Central. 2022-02-22. Retrieved 2022-02-23.
  17. ^ "Offscreen Film Festival onthult openingsfilm en programma 2022-editie"; in: Vertigo, 9 February 2021
  18. ^ "Celebrate 10 Years of Murder, Mayhem, and The Macabre at Panic Fest 2022 This April"; in: NOFS, 30 March 2022
  19. ^ Fantaspoa 2022 Announces Full Lineup"; in: Screen Anarchy, 1 April 2022
  20. ^ "Drafthouse Films Sells to Giant Pictures, Sets Nick Savva as CEO". Variety. 2022-03-09. Retrieved 2022-03-09.
  21. ^ "Draftshouse Films Label Sold to Giant Pictures". The Hollywood Reporter. 2022-03-09. Retrieved 2022-03-09.
  22. ^ "Masking Threshold Movie Reviews". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved December 2, 2021.
  23. ^ Masking Threshold. review; Horror Movies Uncut, 28 September 2021
  24. ^ Masking Threshold. review; Film Threat, 28 September 2021
  25. ^ Masking Threshold. review; UK Film Review, 12 October 2021
  26. ^ "Masking Threshold: A True Macro Exploration of Existential, Ringing Madness" (iHorror); 26 September 2021
  27. ^ Masking Threshold. review; What To Watch, 30 September 2021
  28. ^ "MASKING THRESHOLD: Obsession Takes Hold In This Brutal Horror Film"; review in: Film Inquiry, 26 October 2021
  29. ^ KPFK (North Hollywood) Film Club; reviews of films that screened at Film Maudit 2.0 2022
  30. ^ Brandon Judell: "Film Maudit 2.0: A Celebration of the Outrageous, the Overlooked, and the Accidentally Uplifting", 13 January 2022
  31. ^ "A Night Of Horror 2021 Official Selection/Winner". Retrieved 2021-11-01.
  32. ^ "'In the Earth' i 'Coming Home in the Dark', triomfadores a la 40a edició del TerrorMolins" (in Catalan). Retrieved 2021-11-13.
  33. ^ "Feratum: otorgan premios al cine de terror mexicano" (in Spanish). Retrieved 2021-11-28.
  34. ^ a b c "2021 HORRORFEST AWARDS CEREMONY". Retrieved 2021-11-29.
  35. ^ "British Horror Film Festival 2021". Retrieved 2021-12-07.

External linksEdit

  • Masking Threshold at IMDb
  • Masking Threshold at Letterboxd
  • Interview with Johannes Grenzfurthner in Film Threat
  • Interview with Johannes Grenzfurthner in Zebrabutter (German)
  • Interview with Johannes Grenzfurthner in PopHorror