- Gareth Crook
Speak No Evil (2022) - 7/10
Two families meet on holiday in Italy. They get on. Not amazingly, but pleasantly enough. But there’s a clear sense of foreboding here right from the get go. Bjørn (Morton Burian) and Louise (Sidsal Siem Kock) are Danish, Patrick (Fedja van Huêt) and Karin (Karina Smulders) are Dutch… and married in real life. After the holiday despite hardly knowing them, Bjørn, Louise and their daughter are invited to visit the other family for a weekend in Holland. They’re a little apprehensive at first, but after discussing it with other friends, well… “What’s the worst that can happen?”. Quite a lot. It’s unclear to begin with whether the hosts are insensitive or if there’s something else going on, but it’s not long before Bjørn and Louise get a sense that something is wrong. I’m with them, I’d be out of there sharpish. There’s something dark going on and not just with their near mute son. That’s not the way films work though is it and they’re too polite to call out Patrick and his increasingly inappropriate and abrasive behaviour. It’s got all the hallmarks of a tense psychological thriller, but with extra elements in the relationship on screen that’s both disarming, awkward and fractious. There’s so much friction, the charge is palpable and my only concern is whether this can maintain and deliver on the good will this builds up in the first two acts. It’s clear it’s veering toward something unpleasant, but just how unpleasant is kept wonderfully guarded. When Bjørn stumbles on part of the house he probably shouldn’t, the eerie score elevates and the pacing goes from a gentle unease to a terrifying darkness. It’s not without some issues, but it’s generally pretty solid and its finale is nothing short of devastating. What’s the worst that can happen? It’s never a good question.