The Shout is a film of magic, terror and sensuality; it seduces you through your eyes and ears while keeping your mind spinning with the strands of its intricate story.
Skolimowski is deft in handling these multi-level fragments which mix present and future, and at suspicion, suggestion and innuendo. He carries a mood from one scene to the next with textures, with sound and with fragments of dialogue. (p. 25)
How do you convincingly create a sound which kills people at close range, knocks birds from the sky and topples grazing sheep? The sound which bursts from Bates—who crouches, head bent to his shoe-tops, gathering force before delivering it—is a roar, a rumble, a blast of air. It encompasses nature and electronics. It is indeed stunning.
A warning: One element in the story is not—to put it kindly—absolutely crystalline in the film.
The Shout is haunting enough that this difficulty doesn't damage it, but it seems to confuse audiences mightily. A fascinating work with a dream cast playing to perfection, it should provoke impassioned after-movie discussion. (p. 26)
Sheila Benson, "A Stunning Roar that Kills," in Pacific Sun (Copyright © 1980 Pacific Sun Publishing Co., Inc.), Year 18, No. 22, May 30-June 5, 1980, pp. 25-6.