Speak No Evil

Speak No Evil ★★★★

And we’re off! Welcome to The Thirteenth Annual October Scare-a-thon, my own little plot in the “31 Days of Horror” graveyard. First up is this morbid little morsel from Denmark. Something rotten, indeed… (Wait, come back! I promise I’ll cut out the Cryptkeeper routine!) 

Starting off strong with Speak No Evil, a Shudder exclusive (but don’t let that scare you away) with no qualms about casting the first stone (that’ll make more sense after you’ve seen the picture). There are enough clues early on - in the cinematic framework, the performances, the carefully deployed passages of dialogue, and especially in the inventive approach the score takes, bombastically contrasting with the accompanying images - to clearly indicate we are delving into richly layered allegory. Viewers ascribing a strictly literal interpretation to the characters’ increasingly poor judgment and passive compliance will likely find the final act more than a little frustrating (though no less brutal), so if at any point you’re finding it difficult to suspend disbelief, put your damn phone down and pay attention! You’re only seeing the trees. If you miss the handoff to metaphor (punctuated by a key line), you’re cheating yourself out of a whole forest of commentary on social hierarchy, the power-control dynamic, dominant ideology (for lack of a better term), and the emotional handicapping and systemic submission of future generations! This is important stuff! (Wait, come back! I promise I’ll cut out the condescending blowhard routine!)

This is my favorite kind of horror: horror with something to say. Horror that respects its audience and rewards their patience. Horror with brains… and a very sharp pair of scissors.

(Title #1 of The Thirteenth Annual October Scare-a-thon!)

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