• Director: Christian Tafdrup
  • Writer: Christian Tafdrup, Mads Tafdrup
  • Stars: Morten Burian, Sidsel Siem Koch, Fedja van Huêt, Karina Smulders


When do you speak up in social situations? Have we become so worried about offending someone that we keep quiet when we see something wrong? This is the basis for Speak No Evil, playing at the Fantasia International Film Festival. A comedy of manners, although not in the traditional sense.

When Bjorn(Burian), Louise (Koch) go on vacation with their daughter, they become fast friends with Patrick (van Huêt), Karin (Smulders) and their son. After a great vacation, Patrick and Karin invite Bjorn and his family to spend some time at their house. It would be rude not to go, right? They go and it soon becomes apparent that Patrick and Karin are a little bit off putting and erratic. Bjorn realises that maybe they are better off leaving because Patrick and his family really aren’t their kind of people but it would rude to leave, right?

Tafdrup has written a strong film, that pits, a softer, socially and ethically conscious family, up against the antitheses of them. The writing is also far smarter than you give it credit for until you see the big picture. His direction is excellent too. Everything in the film means something and if you don’t recognise it straight away, you certainly do by the end of the film.

The acting is exceptional by all in involved. Everyone plays their part so well, it speaks to the commitment of the actors in what would be some really tough characters to play.

To be fair, the film spends a lot of time establishing characters and nothing much horror related actually happens until the last twenty minutes of this film, where all the meticulous writing and direction gets a pay off by way of the scariest twenty minutes you’ll find this year. Unbridled tension combined with the most impactful, horrific situation. It takes a fair bit to shock your modern, jaded horror fan but I had a full on body reaction to this films climax. It’s like Haneke and Von Trier have a competition to make you feel bad.

An excellent film, that you’ll probably never want to watch again. Speak No Evil is the feel bad film you’ve been looking for.

Ryan Morrissey-Smith | Twitter: @TigersMS78

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