“Ultrasonic” begins with the intrigue of a struggling rocker’s disturbing sense that he’s hearing strange sounds unheard by others, but the paranoid premise leads to less-than-resounding suspense. Undone by tone-deaf repetitiveness and a particularly slack midsection, this debut feature by jack-of-all-trades filmmaker Rohit Colin Rao has some interesting ideas, but is unable to convincingly dramatize them. Specialized theatrical release and VOD window may prick a few ears, followed by a quick fade.
With the twin pressures of a pregnant wife, Ruth (Cate Buscher), and the costs of producing his band’s new album, musician Simon (Silas Gordon Brigham) begins hearing what he describes as low oscillating sounds. His real problem isn’t these sounds, however, but rather Ruth’s ultra-paranoid brother Jonas (Sam Repshas), whom she warns is manipulative. Yet neither Repshas’ blunt performance nor the script (by Rao and Mike Maguire) skillfully lay the foundation for Jonas’ ability to influence Simon’s fearful state of mind. Why Simon is more open to Jonas than to Ruth is crucial to “Ultrasonic” working as a cautionary tale, and in this it fails to make its case.