September 23, 2022 Speak No Evil (Movie Review)
Shudder is the premiere streaming service for Horror lovers. From classic older Horror films to Shudder’s original content, their latest film comes in the form of Speak No Evil. Released exclusively via Shudder on September 15, 2022, and directed by Christian Tafdrup (Parents 2016, A Horrible Woman 2017), Speak No Evil is a slow burning Thriller lasting a total of 98 minutes.
Set in Tuscany, Speak No Evil follows a Danish couple and their young daughter who, while on vacation, meets a Dutch couple and their young son. Months after this meeting, the Dutch family invites the Danish family for a weekend visit to their country. A nice gesture, soon after, the visit becomes a bit of a nightmare.
Establishing characters is difficult in any film. However, establishing characters the right way is even more difficult. This in mind, Speak No Evil establishes both families’ characters quite well. The Danish family seems happy together, yet the husband seems to be hiding some emotions. Furthermore, the Dutch family is established as fun loving and happy, although the true nature of the family is shown piece by piece.
Bjorn (Morten Burian: Kodkatalogest 2014 series, Sons of Denmark 2019), the Danish husband, as stated, seems to be troubled or depressed. This is while Patrick (Fedja Van Huet: Character 1997, Buddenbrooks 2008), the Dutch husband, seems to be happy and energetic. The same is said for their wives; Sidsel Siem Koch (Itsi Bitsi 2014, Frederik IX 2020) as Louise, and Karina Smulders (Onderweg Naar Morgen series, Sum of Histories 2015) as Karin.
As for the children, the Dutch son, Abel (Marius Damslev: Becoming Astrid 2018, When The Dust Settles series), is very off putting and honestly a bit unsettling for a boy of his age; he doesn’t speak or laugh like a normal child would. Abel also doesn’t seem to want to do what his parents tell him, but not in a rebellious way…but more in a way as if he is almost scared to speak or even smile. Meanwhile, the Danish daughter, Agnes (Liva Forsberg: The Chestnut Man 2021 Series) is portrayed as a normal daughter.
All compelling characters to dig into, there are still a few minor issues with Speak No Evil. First, the film is quite slow. And without giving too much away, there are a couple of scary scenes, but most would not exactly classify this film as a Horror, but as alluded to, more of a Thriller or even Drama. Regardless, Speak No Evil is very disturbing once the end is revealed.
The other concern with Speak No Evil is the language. Considering it is a foreign film, of course there should be subtitles. While most foreign films are in one language, Speak No Evil includes English, Danish and Dutch…which can be a bit hard to follow. Why is this an issue? Because many American viewers could possibly miss something important key to the film’s plot because they are not paying attention to the subtitles since bits and pieces are in English. But not everything is aimed at American’s short attention span, so we digress.
Complete with good lighting and an ominous soundtrack, despite the language issue and very slow beginning, Speak No Evil makes for a good Thriller, and that is why Cryptic Rock gives it 4 out of 5 stars.