By-The-Numbers But Creepy Nonetheless
Don’t Listen feels like a Frankenstein’s Monster of various other horror movies spliced together. Between the gnarly stitches lie influences of Insidious, The Conjuring, Hole In The Ground and, more recently, Come Play.
That’s not necessarily a bad thing though and the distinct Spanish flavour to this medley of influences creates a pretty well-structured and relatively scary flick. While horror enthusiasts will undoubtedly see all the narrative beats coming a mile away, there’s some creepy moments in here nonetheless.
The story that ties everything together begins with a simple but overdone opening. 9 year old creepy, quiet kid Eric (see: genius) has just moved in to a new house with his parents. Soon after, strange noises begin to manifest in the form of distorted voices through the electronics. When the pool gate starts slamming outside too, things quickly descend into a living nightmare.
This is typical horror fodder and inevitably when things begin to go wrong, the predictable screenplay shows its hand. While it would be easy to point at Eric as the main protagonist, it’s actually his father Daniel who plays centre stage here.
The script takes a lot of the usual twists and turns you’d expect, with those aforementioned influences playing out across the 90 minute run-time. The fetch-quest segments feel very Insidious-esque while the spooky house plays off one of the oldest tricks in the book for Horror films. That’s before mentioning the obligatory research stage and the big bad being revealed.
Where this movie earns some brownie points however, is the way it blends in Spanish folklore history and ideas from the Middle Ages. The constant visual motif of flies seems to hint toward the plague while a particularly striking and unnerving scene showing dead cats tied to a tree is easily one of the visual highlights of the entire picture.
Sometimes horror movies have a tendency to lose their effectiveness during the third act, especially after the big bad is revealed, but here Don’t Listen tries really hard to keep those scares going.
Flashing strobe lights, fake-out deaths and all manner of spookiness is maintained right the way through to the final credits. What this picture lacks in originality it definitely makes up for with atmosphere.
Overall though, the distinct Spanish influence is a nice change of pace from the typical Hollywood jump-scare-rife pictures while the third act remains equally as unnerving as the first. While Don’t Listen plays out like a typical paint by numbers horror flick, there’s enough atmosphere and bumps in the night to make it worth a watch.