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Speak No Evil (2022) Review

This is a review for the 2022 film “Speak No Evil”. When people recommended Speak No Evil to me, I was informed that it was the most messed up horror film of the year. I was expecting fast-paced, chilling spooks. What I got instead was a slow burn drama that left me feeling cold inside.

What is Speak No Evil about?

Speak No Evil is centred around the friendship fostered between a Danish couple and a Dutch couple, when they meet on holiday in Italy. Both couples have a young child and they hit it off immediately, with the Dutch couple inviting the Danes over to their house in the country – once the holiday has concluded.

Too polite to say no, Bjorn and Louise (the Danes) take their daughter to visit and what follows is a series of cringe-inducing antics and awkward encounters. There will be no spoilers in this review, but as it is a horror movie – you can be assured that this awkwardness is not the worst thing the visitors experience. Bloodshed and a horrific twist follow, though far from promptly.

The movie is predominantly in English but does feature a good amount of Danish and Dutch, when the couples interact with each other. If you struggle with subtitled films, don’t worry – you should be fine, this isn’t too prominent and is essential for building tension in some scenes.

Is it a good movie?

As previously mentioned, Speak No Evil left me feeling completely numb after finishing it. There aren’t really any jump scares and you can count the number of violent scenes on one hand, but the movie does a phenomenal job at building tension and dropping subtle hints that something isn’t quite right. At some point, you’ll likely have figured out exactly what’s going on – but will convince yourself that it’s such a deplorable plot that there’s no way the movie would ever go there. It goes there.

The “main characters are stupid” trope is present – but this is subverted, somewhat, in how it ties into the overarching themes of the movie.

Most of the movie is spent building up to the ending, which is where this movie lives or dies for you. Some may find it too grotesque and others may find it lacklustre. Personally, I thought it was a solid ending – though was left hungry for more. Not everything needs to be spoon-fed to the audience, but it would’ve been interesting to learn more about the motives of our villains.

What is the meaning of Speak No Evil?

Speak No Evil takes a stand against politeness. On many occasions in the film, the protagonists are faced with an uncomfortable situation that sets off alarm bells in their head. Yet, despite some minor protests, they don’t do anything to remove themselves from the situation – for fear of being rude.

They allowed the uncomfortable situations to escalate until it got too much to walk away from.

In terms of the wider meaning, there are many different interpretations of this. Some may interpret it as being a protest against political correctness, others will see it as a call to stand up to injustice and abuse rather than to passively allow it to happen.

Who is responsible for the film?

The film was directed by Christian Tafdrup, a Danish director most notable for his work in Danish television. Previous feature length movies from him include A Horrible Woman and Parents.

Is there a Speak No Evil sequel?

There is currently no news to suggest a Speak No Evil sequel and the movie doesn’t lend itself too kindly to one. At no point does it feel like it’s trying to be the next big horror franchise, Tafdrup had a story he wanted to tell and it was told.

It would probably be easy to create a sequel which is just the same movie but with a new family falling into the same trap. However, Tafdrup has shown with this movie that he is more creative than that so I suspect we would only see a sequel if he had a great idea for one.

Who should watch this movie?

This movie is not for everyone. If you are looking for something fast-paced or fun, then this probably isn’t the movie for you. Equally, if you’re squeamish or sensitive to horror, stay far back.

However, if you’re a horror fan who is burned out by endless franchising and the same old played-out stories, then this is a very nice, artsy treat for you. Go in expecting a slow burn, but you will certainly be horrified by the end of it.

I hope you enjoyed this review of Speak No Evil (2022). Did you enjoy this film? Let us know in the comments section below.

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