Speak No Evil, which was acquired by Shudder just before its Sundance premiere, is a slow-burn nightmare that will leave you horrified. If not for it’s snail pace in the opening two acts, it could have been a marvel of modern horror, unfortunately by the time the plot is wrapped up it’s too little too late.
Written by Alex Gilston
Family holidays are a time to relax, and have fun, sometimes it’s a place where you meet other families who you’ll never know too much about and once you come home you’ll likely never see them again. In Speak No Evil however Bjorn, Louise, and their daughter get invited to the home of a family they met on holiday. After accepting the invitation what starts off as a nice weekend away becomes a sadistic cautionary tale about misplaced trust. One of the staples of horror films are the decisions that people make, ones that leave you shouting at the screen, and Speak No Evil treads the line of the believability of the choices that Bjorn and Louise make, it’s unintentionally quite annoying and then makes it hard to sympathise for them in the final act.
The last 20 minutes of Speak No Evil are it’s best. Things quickly descend into chaos, it’s grizzly, visceral, and harrowing, as the actions of these people come full circle to haunt them. It ends with a quietness as you’re forced to mull over what has just taken place.
Speak No Evil is a masterclass of the uncomfortable. A tense experience that has a climax any horror fanatic would lap up. Unfortunately it’s struggle to keep the audience's attention works against it coming together to make a great piece of cinema.