“Uncomfortable” is a word I throw around a lot. I have a very, very low tolerance when it comes to uncomfortable, awkward, or embarrassing situations.
Speak No Evil is relentlessly, brutally uncomfortable. I think if I had read the synopsis or watched the trailer beforehand, I probably would have given this one a pass. It was recommended to me later in the day yesterday, and trusting the horror-guru implicitly, I went for it.
…and then noped out at the 45-minute mark.
Two families on vacation in Tuscany – one Danish, one Dutch – meet and become friendly. Months later, the outgoing Dutch family invites the more conservative Danes to spend a weekend at their cabin. However, it doesn’t take long before things become tense and awkward as either cultural misunderstandings or the miscommunications of people who don’t know each other very well become egregiously apparent. Too well-mannered to confront their hosts’ increasingly erratic and rude behavior, the Danes politely stick it out, until something so unsettling happens that they actually sneak out in the wee hours of the morning while their bizarre hosts are asleep.
As we were only a third of the way through the film, I knew this was too good to be true. And of course, I was right! They hadn’t driven very far before their daughter starts to panic and cry, realizing she’d left her stuffed rabbit toy behind. You can see the anxiety in her father’s eyes as he is debating their options and then, sickeningly, he turns the car around.
At that point, I shouted NOPE! Jumped out of my chair so fast that it tipped over, and ran out of the room. My heart was racing and I was shaking so hard I imagined I could taste the bitter, metallic adrenaline in my mouth. Even though I didn’t KNOW-know where this was headed, I had a solid enough idea that it was ratcheting up to something awful, and I just couldn’t subject myself to the plight of a family who was going to get themselves killed because their accommodating natures overrode their sense of self-preservation.
Honestly, it felt too relatable. Up to the point I stopped watching, nothing bad had even happened, really, it was all so innocuous. But see, that’s where I, too, have been conditioned to be obliging and understanding! Because even as I am watching and thinking “well making your guests pay for a meal you had promised to treat them to isn’t exactly a crime” I know in my gut, it’s really tacky! And while practically forcing your vegetarian guest to sample a bite of your roast pork isn’t evil, it’s outrageously disrespectful. I would certainly never do that to anyone. I know better. That’s the thing. Even if on some level it doesn’t seem all that bad, the heart of who I am, it KNOWS. But would I trust what I know to be true enough to leave that situation? I don’t know!
This October I’m finding more than a few instances where I’ve had enough and I am quick to call it. I know I say this all the time lately, but I don’t know how much time I have left on this earth and I don’t want to spend it making myself miserable, even if the thing I’m experiencing or engaging with is a purported masterpiece. That’s fine. I gave it a shot, and it wasn’t for me. Afterward, I read the entire synopsis on Wikipedia, and now, knowing what I know …I think (??) I might have been able to watch it.
Not knowing where things were heading was factoring into my anxiety, so being armed with the plot–spoilers and all–might have helped. Would I have enjoyed seeing it through? I most assuredly would not have. All in all, it reminded me of Funny Games (I think many reviewers felt the same) and if you did not love that one, you probably won’t want to watch Speak No Evil.
Instead, I watched more Deadloch. I cannot stress this enough. If you are too freaked out by what you are watching this spooky season, you need to take a little break and tune into this show!
–A. I appreciate this recommendation and any time you want to share suggestions with me! Speak No Evil wasn’t my cuppa but I love that you shared it and my ears are always open for your recommendations. Also when I went to look it up, I momentarily forgot the title and almost started the 2006 See No Evil with KANE, ha!
If you would like to support this blog, consider buying the author a coffee?