Speak No Evil

Speak No Evil ★★★½

There's an actor with a small role in Speak No Evil who looks quite a lot like M Night Shyamalan, which is funny because Shyamalan could only dream of coming up with a twist as cool as the one we get here.

The twist isn't that a drama about an awkward social situation turns into a horror movie at the end; that much is obvious from the doomh laden way the whole thing is shot, lit and scored. But you could imagine someone like Michael Haneke filming the bulk of the narrative in a more typically arch, Euro-arthouse manner. The plot sees Danish couple Bjørn & Louise making friends with their Dutch counterparts, Patrick & Karen, while they're all on their summer holidays in Italy. So Bjørn & Louise accept an invitation to visit their new chums at their home in Holland a few months later, but it turns out that Patrick & Karen are in fact quite unpleasant people, particularly in the way they treat their young, disabled son.

Rather than being played for darkly comic laughs, as uncomfortable adult interactions often are, the screenplay keeps the tone deadly serious and finds lots of opportunities for tense moments along the way. It's not histrionic though, with Bjørn & Louise trapped by nothing more than their own politeness, not to mention - when they attempt an early exit - something annoying and ever-so inevitable that their daughter does. The switch into horror mode is triggered by something very clichéd - a mass of incriminating evidence found in a secret room - but it's okay because it all builds up to that belter of a surprise that inarguably earns the movie its place in the genre.

Block or Report

Cliff liked these reviews