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Sundance 2022: “Speak No Evil”


Rating: 5 out of 5.

The norm of our society is very simple: be polite, be polite and be polite. And if someone offers you a free beverage in a family oriented environment, just take it, even if you don’t like it. Because all that it will take is an ordinary “Thank you.” People are nice, isn’t it and a few bucks won’t hurt any pocket. Of course, that’s what we normally think, because kindness comes with the no strings attached… until it does.

When on holiday in Tuscany, a Danish family of three, Bjorn (Morten Burjan), wife Louise (Sidsel Siem Koch), and their beautiful daughter, Agnes enjoy their time together. In fact, their trip becomes even more eventful when they meet a sweet and super friendly family: Patrick (Fedja van Huet), his wife Karin (Karina Smulders), and their son, Abel. The two families quickly become comfortable with each other. Months later, Bjorn receives an invitation from Patrick to join them for a weekend in their countryside home. The family accepts this as an opportunity to mingle with new friends, even though they literally knew nothing about them.

First and foremost, “Speak No Evil” is one of the most powerful and scariest psychological horror thriller you will see this year. It goes beyond Hollywood standards, showing the direct impact of poor choices being made. For instance, Bjorn and Louise have realized something is strange with their newfound friends and made an attempt to leave them once. But what did they do instead? Returned back and allowed Patrick to use his charm to convince them, everything they thought just happened to them was just a coincidence and had nothing to do with ill intentions whatsoever.

Directed by Christian Tafdrup, “Speak No Evil” is an excellent Danish psychological thriller you will wish you never have to ever see again. It’s so real that you will be terrified to the core even though the film contains zero scary scenes. Atmospheric, dark and subtly narrated, the film captures the moment of how far people’s politeness can take them. Literally, to beyond where there is no way back. The ending is absolutely magnificent as it serves as a manifest to human cruelty at its best.

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