This disturbing Danish horror movie will get under your skin
The next time you strike up a friendship with people you meet on vacation, think twice before accepting their invitation to spend further time with them after your restful break is over. Sure, they might seem like really nice people that you could become lifelong friends with but what if they have hidden secrets that are best left uncovered?
At best, they could be swingers who want to lure you into their home for a little bit of slap and tickle but at worst, their intentions for you could be far more horrific than a few hours with a feather duster!
In Christian Tafdrup’s dark new horror film, Danish couple Bjorn and Louise, along with their daughter Agnes, are invited to spend a weekend at the home of a Dutch family that they met while vacationing in Tuscany. They are surprised to get the invite and are uncertain about taking the trip but when one of their friends raises the question “what’s the worst that could happen?”, they decide to throw caution to the wind and go along.
They soon regret this decision as in answer to their friend’s question, the ‘worst’ is something far more horrifying than they could ever have imagined.
Still, everything gets off to a reasonable start when they turn up at the home of their vacation buds Patrick and Karin, and their son Abel. There are a few inconveniences – the sleeping arrangements aren’t great; their hosts forget Louise is a vegetarian – but for the most part, they don’t have too much to worry about during the first few hours of their stay.
Unfortunately, the trip takes a turn for the worst when Bjorn and Louise realize they have little in common with the people they are staying with. Aside from the cultural differences that will resonate more with Dutch and Danish audiences than viewers outside of the Netherlands, there are bigger issues at play, such as Patrick’s abusive form of parenting which does much to alarm the visiting couple.
They stick around for a while as they don’t want to offend their hosts but before the weekend comes to an end, they eventually decide that the trip was a bad idea and they prepare to make an early exit.
The film becomes darker from then on as the reasons why Bjorn and his family were invited to stay with their hosts become all too clear. What was once a social commentary and black comedy rolled into one becomes something far more nightmarish, with scenes that may be traumatic for viewers of a sensitive nature. The final few moments in the film are particularly disturbing and they may well haunt you long after the end credits have rolled.
Jaded horror fans, who are bored of copycat slasher movies and unimaginative horror tales, will likely appreciate this film. It’s far more intelligent than others of its type, with realistic scenarios and surprises that will be hard to predict for many. It’s definitely more of a feel-bad film than something that is ultimately cathartic but if you want a story that will get under your skin and crawl beneath it for days and weeks to come, this will more than satisfy you.
The ominous music score and the haunting visuals do much to ratchet up a tense atmosphere but it’s the early moments within the film, such as those that are indicative of Bjorn’s inability to stand up for himself in front of Patrick, that foretell the horrors that are to come. Bjorn’s polite nature eventually becomes his undoing and while it’s sometimes easy to sympathize with him, there may be times when you find yourself shouting at him from the other end of your TV screen, insisting that he does more to protect himself and his family.
In the same way that Bjorn eventually becomes a passive witness to the events that happen around him, you will be forced to watch the horrors that unfold with no way of altering the outcome of the story. Of course, you could simply turn the film off if it all gets a little too much for you, but thanks to the narrative’s many twists and turns, you will want to see how it all plays out, even if the final denouement is as horrible as you’re probably expecting.
I was pleasantly surprised by Speak No Evil as it has far more to say than others of its type, with characters that come across like real human beings and not movie stereotypes. Even Patrick and Karin, who are ultimately quite despicable, have character traits that, on the surface, are warm and relatable, and this begs the question: What if they share things in common with the ‘nice’ people we meet on vacation? It’s a question worth considering as none of us wants to end up in a similar situation to that faced by Bjorn and his family in Christian Tafdrup’s disquieting tale of terror.
Read More: Speak No Evil Ending Explained
Verdict - 7.5/10