Christian Tafdrup’s first ever horror film, Speak No Evil, follows a Danish family who befriend a fellow travelling Dutch family while on holiday and are subsequently invited to the Netherlands for a weekend stay.

We begin in the front seat of a car, speeding through the dark down a winding dirt road, towards what we do not know, and that’s exactly how this entire film feels – being strapped in and set forth on a journey, where all we can do is wait, watch, and pray for mercy. 

The difficult dynamic set up here is brilliant: because of the obligation the family feel to keep up appearances while being guests in someone’s home, many warning signs are either ignored or hesitantly forgiven, no matter how off-putting they may be. All four performances are truly astounding, but Morten Burian is a triumph. The transformation he goes through, from the timid smile he paints to the moment he loses the composure he has worked so hard to maintain, is brutal to witness. 

The gradual build-up of tension begins in very subtle ways, where perhaps you could even convince yourself you imagined what you saw, but worsens with each passive aggressive comment. Every event, every word said is purposeful, and this realisation is even more satisfying once the film comes to its conclusion.

Sometimes we put up with such discomfort in the simplest interactions with others just to uphold social norms. Speak No Evil is just as much of a family drama as it is a horror film, and very often these two things intersect in real life, which makes it all the more frightening.



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

DIRECTOR: Christian Tafdrup

WRITER: Christian Tafdrup

SYNOPSIS: While on holiday in Tuscany, a Danish family becomes fast friends with a fellow traveling family from the Netherlands.