A Danish family visits a Dutch family they met on vacation, but the
weekend turns sour when the Dutch family's mask starts to slip.
Speak No Evil (2022)
Directed by Christian Tafdrup
Written by Christian Tafdrup and Mads Tafdrup
Starring Morten Burian, Sidsel Siam Koch, Fedja van Huêt,
Karina Smulders, Liva Forsberg, Marius Damslev
A good psychological horror film is like a savory meal. The flavor is overwhelming, but in a good way, and it might not be something you want every day, but those moments when you do get it, boy does it go down smooth. This uncomfortable Danish thriller is going to go down as one of the best horror films of the year. This film perfectly encapsulates the societal pressure of niceness, and how much we are willing to let slide out of fear of being perceived as rude. That's the first half. Then, of course, the true motives of the generous hosts are revealed, and we go from thriller to pureblood horror.
Bjorn (Burian) and Louise (Koch) are a Danish couple with a young daughter Agnes (Forsberg) who are on holiday in Tuscany. They encounter a Dutch couple, Patrick (Huêt) and Karin (Smulders) and their young son Abel (Damslev). The couples hit it off and spend the holiday together. When Bjorn and Louise go home, they get a postcard from the Dutch couple inviting them to stay at their home for a weekend. They accept, and an idyllic holiday turns to a lesson in patience and good manners once the Danish couple catches the Dutch couple in more than a few lies. Once Bjorn finds a secret room that reveals the Dutch couples' true intentions, all hell breaks loose and shit gets eerie really fast.
I don't want to say too much, as I don't want to spoil the big reveal. I'll just say we get a visceral image of something horrifying and an ending that is absolutely bleak and unforgiving. The film is all build-up, and it maintains a persistent unsettling vibe throughout. You always feel like something isn't right, but you can't quite put your finger on why. That's smart filmmaking.