‘Speak No Evil’ | Sundance 2022 Review

Directed By:

Christian Tafdrup

Written By:

Christian Tafdrup, Mads Tafdrup


Morten Burian, Sidsel Siem Koch, Fedja van Huêt, Karina Smulders, Liva Forsberg, Marius Damslev



A Danish family meets another family from the Netherlands while on holiday in Tuscany. After they return home, the Netherlands family invite the Danish family to their home for a getaway. The Danish family jump at the chance and are excited to bring their family over to have a great vacation, but after a series of uncomfortable incidents from the Netherlands family, the Danish family begin to question whether they should have traveled at all, in this unsettling and quirky thriller that works in the beginning, but fails to stick the landing for me.

For the first half of the film, I was pretty engaged and fascinated by the quirky suspense building with the two couples. One side of this friendship is clearly out of pity for the other, while the other has no social cues to see how uncomfortable that family is. It’s very relatable, everyone has that friend in the group that are difficult to engage with. This unease and tension building is great. Even the reveal about the couple (won’t reveal which couple) felt earned and worth the buildup. The issue comes form the setup to HOW the film reveals itself by strange character choices.

One of the biggest mistakes a horror film can make if they are trying to be as realistic as possible is dumbing down their characters. With ‘Speak No Evil’ I was stunned with every lack of action by the parents that by the end I almost felt they were partially responsible for where they ended up. Not only are there multiple chances to escape, but they take them, and then return for one of the silliest reasons that, had the family truly felt how they did leaving, would never have returned for.

Once that scene ended, I no longer cared about how main characters, and the stakes were gone and left me only with interest in how the film would end. There wasn’t really a good way to resolve the film after that that would make me feel positively about the events leading to the conclusion. That being said, if you don’t have an issue with the motivations and choices then this will be an incredible tense and well done film, but you have to suspend disbelief to feel that.

Rating: 6 out of 10.
Patrick Beatty
Patrick Beatty

Patrick Beatty is a film critic and creator of PatrickBeattyReviews.com and the Gaggle of Geeks Podcast network. Watch him Friday’s on ABC4 Good Things Utah talk about movies and follow all his work in the link below.

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