Speak No Evil

Speak No Evil – Bjørn (Morten Burian) and Louise (Sidsel Siem Koch) meet Patrick (Fedja van Huêt) and Karin (Karina Smulders) while on vacation in Tuscany. The two couples get along well, so a few months later Bjørn and Lousie receive an invitation from Patrick and Karin to visit them at their home in the Netherlands. On the spot, however, it quickly becomes clear that the magic of the holidays does not last forever. The atmosphere is getting more and more unpleasant, and even if something seems wrong with Patrick and Karin, Bjørn and Louise just won’t go home.

Is a stunning lesson in the absurdity of empty niceties and adherence to convention. He creates an everyday scenario, but sets it up in his characters. Many people have already received an invitation to visit people they met on vacation, but few are afraid to go beyond friendly small talk during such visits.

Speak No Evil

Speak No Evil

Such holiday relationships are relationships held together primarily by conformity and civility. One smiles, says thank you and tries to be a good host while the other party tries to do the same in hosting. A scenario that lies in an unspoken, but often space-consuming discomfort. But what happens if a party breaks this convention? Would the other party complain or even leave? Probably not.

Speak No Evil: Live (2021)

Experiments with the scenario and impressively shows his characters’ inactivity, almost inability to defend themselves. The inhibitions to cross the label are too great. And then the anger not only eats more and more at the characters, but also at the audience. Say something you want to shout, but you only see fat after fat being accepted.

The psychological focus is clearly on Bjørn and Louise. It doesn’t matter why Patrick and Karin do what they do. More important is why Bjørn and Louise neither run away nor seek conflict. In addition to the already mentioned subject of conformity, the film also provides a justification for this, which is especially evident with Bjørn. Because despite all the trouble they cause, he also admires Patrick and Karin for their differences. They do what they want and thereby achieve a part of Bjørn, which I am sure has a lot in them. The desire to just let go, let go.

As one might have guessed, the film has a strong social critique and satirical approach, which manifests itself in various ways. First, there are the characters Bjørn and Louise, who, although they are the victims, are always portrayed as taking responsibility for themselves. You can leave the situation at any time, but just don’t and you are steering yourself into unhappiness. They are cowardly, lazy and withdrawn. Her marriage, but also her life decisions, are repeatedly presented by the charismatic Patrick, who is also brilliantly played. With this characteristic, the figures remind, for example, of the figures of Ruben Östlund, and their incompetence is repeatedly revealed.

But not only the characters serve as victims of satire, their activities are also inseparable from it. Pseudo-cultural package tours and vacation dynamics are questioned, as is adherence to conventional niceties. In the end, the film criticizes a very elaborate lifestyle and contrasts it with its complete opposite. Patrick and Karin and the lifestyle they embody are therefore more functional and allegorical than anything else.

Speak No Evil Review

Is a very tough and incredibly dark horror film, which is mainly remembered for its brilliant last 20 minutes. But even on the way there, the atmosphere is not spared. Because the aforementioned unpleasant atmosphere, which takes over in situations created by the convention, fits wonderfully for it.

Director and co-writer Christian Tafdrup refuses to depict the supernatural and use cheap jump scares. Instead, he manages to focus on the interpersonal horror and deconstruct the unspoken between his characters in the best possible way.

The successful staging is also helpful in creating a feeling of isolation and uncertainty with very cold, constructed images and very precise frames. Added to this is the frequent use of religious symbolism, which gives the whole thing an extra melancholic feel.

Speak No Evil

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Shudder’s Speak No Evil Explained Nice Guys Finish Last And The Politics Of Politeness

“Speak No Evil” impressively shows where the adherence to conventions can lead, but at the same time manages to build a certain ambivalence around its subject and its characters. In addition to the socially critical and satirical approach, the Danish film also presents itself as a real horror film that should not hide from genre giants. But is Speak No Evil actually a successful psychological thriller, or does it burst the balloon with expectations that are too high?

In the middle of a carefree summer vacation in Tuscany, they get to know each other – the Danish married couple Björn and Louise and the Dutch free spirits Patrick and Karin. Despite noticeable differences, they quickly become closer, and a few months after the end of the holiday, an invitation to a comfortable weekend in the countryside is sent in the mailbox in Copenhagen. Out of pure courtesy, Björn and Louise accept the offer and shortly afterwards are on their way to Holland with their daughter Agnes in the car. But as soon as the family arrives at their casual acquaintance’s holiday home, the first cracks appear in the intact facade: Patrick presents his views with latent aggressiveness, abuses his mute son Abel under the indifferent gaze of his wife and finally a Dinner at the inn. ends in a complete tragedy disaster of drunkenness and shame.

Björn and Louise should follow their instincts, but then a forgetful stuffed animal sabotages their secret departure. Filled with guilt, the family decides to continue putting a good face on the bad game. From this ultimately fateful decision, a catastrophe emerges that, while every minute of the film feels avoidable and wrong, morphs into an inescapable reality.

The sentence may be trite, but in the case of Speak no Evil it really hits the nail on the head: you should watch the thriller from Denmark with as little prior knowledge as possible – then the low blows really hit the audience with full force. Therefore, we ask for your understanding at this point if this review is a little more elliptical than usual at one point or another. Still, if you want to approach the film completely objectively, you should probably stop here.

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***NOTE, this is at least scratching the surface of the plot, so a gentle spoiler warning is in order***

Speak No Evil is a great example of a mind game where you know at one point what the outcome will be, but you’re squeezed so tightly into a scrape that you can fully feel the intensity on your own body. Until the thriller turns into one of the most uncompromising final quarters in recent times, the mood builds slowly but surely in sometimes tense situations. The excesses to which the tormenting couple play their game with their guests are already painful to watch, but if you put yourself in the shoes of the actors and wonder when you would have pulled the strings yourself , the whole tour is so much more. . reluctant to follow.

For a long time, one wondered at Speak No Evil what Patrick and Karin’s motivation was, why they chose Björn and Louise’s picture book family for their game, which strongly resembles Haneke’s Funny Games. Again and again there are scenes that give indications that the creators want to question the social class to which the Danish couple and their daughter belong. In doing so, several scenes naturally focus specifically on the relationship between the two men, Patrick’s actually poisonous nature, which seems to exert a certain fascination on Björn. In aspects such as a certain hypocrisy, which Patrick Louise because of his decision not to eat meat, but still eat fish, played several times.

Speak No Evil

But then, from a certain point in the story, the events get worse and the socially critical component seems to be a little more implied than the director dares to say at the end. Although some slightly different script decisions could have led to a social discourse, the rigor of the final act in no way shocks as intended. The film is anything but bloody. But he doesn’t need more than two extremely loud violent spikes towards the end to cement these images permanently in the viewer’s memory.

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Even if, as I said, the full potential of the ending, which is unambiguous in its interpretation, is somewhat sacrificed, the way there and especially the first hour offers a lot of material for a detailed discourse –  once you have recovered from the shocking final image. Overall, the pictures can only be praised. Some long shots, for example, accompanied by great music, speaks for a stylistic signature that you will definitely see more of in the future.

The two actors who play the sociopathic couple should not be forgotten either. This eerie aura emanating from Fetja van Huêt brings a metaphorical icy coldness to every scene he appears in – and yet you catch yourself

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