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Film Review: Speak No Evil (2013)

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SYNOPSIS:

A single mother fights to protect her daughter from demonically possessed children and a town gone mad.

REVIEW:

In a tiny, rural trailer park in Nowhere, Arizona, something is seriously wrong with the children. I mean…SERIOUSLY wrong.

Our story opens with Anna (Gabrielle Stone) and her daughter Joey (Olivia Cavender) packing up and leaving the family home, leaving dear daddy Dale (Mario Guzman) behind. This is usually how an episode of murder P*rn on Discovery ID starts. However, we quickly see that Anna has not been brutally murdered by her jealous ex and has settled in with a new beau (Carl Jensen) the next town over.

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A comet/UFO/fallen angel/secret military thing (they never really explain what exactly it is)streaks across the sky and sometime during the night (as the new boyfriend is sneaking out) we find that Joey is gone. The small town cops are way too busy questioning Anna’s morality to be too concerned about her kid. Once the town awakens to find all the children in this dinky little town are gone, that changes things.

The local religious weirdos, which I can’t decide if they are Mennonites or some sort of cult, offer their services to pray and organize search parties. The head of the “church”, played by Cesar Garcia, seems like he wants to genuinely help. By help, I mean tell the parents their kids are already dead and taken away by god because the parents have failed Christ in some way. So very helpful, that guy.

Anyway, hysteria grows until suddenly all the children return, walking out of the desert carrying the body of Joey. She’s still alive, but her tongue has been cut out.

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Anna is suspected of doing something to her own daughter, daddy Dale turns up with a less-than-helpful attitude, and the rest of the kids start getting sick. Puking blood and screeching like owls kind of sick.

And it all kinda goes downhill from there. The adults of the town stampede into violence as they suddenly find themselves having to defend their lives from their own (apparently) demon possessed children.The religious weirdies, of course, are so sure they know the answer. No one else seems too interested in hearing they should drop their guns and pray instead of fighting for their lives. it doesn’t take very long at all for everything to fall apart and the body count stacks up fast.

I really enjoyed this film. It’s got a little bit of Village of the Damned…a little bit of The Exorcist…a little bit Night of the Living Dead. There’s a whole lot that happens and it happens really quickly.

The film was written and directed by ROZE (one name…like Cher or Madonna), who doesn’t have a lot listed on IMDB other than several short features. Some as writer, director, actor, production design, and cinematographer. Seems our boy has been on all over both sides of a camera and his experience really shows with this film. It looks good, the acting is good, and for a low budget production ( the film was made for around 150,000 dollars which is low budget compared to a multi million dollar Hollywood film) it plays well over all.

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The real stars in this film are the kids, obviously. Ranging in age, the demonic children sell it to the back row with style. Interestingly, the featured children appear to be all from one family in real life – the Cavender family who are listed among the producers. Olivia Cavender, who plays the main girl Joey, really does a great job. When working on a low budget film, one must learn to use their friends wisely. The kids are great. Love them all.

The make up on both the monsters and the key make up for the adult actors is really well done. The beauty make up on the principle players is realistic and doesn’t feel over done.I recognize some of the monster effects are digitally enhanced, but what movie doesn’t do that these days?

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Gore? oh yes, there is a small sampling of that. What you get is not a lot, but pretty decent.

opinions on-line about this film are split down the middle. Personally, I think it’s quite well done. With a run time of just over an hour, it doesn’t waste time with B rolls or unnecessary details. It sort of feels like an old grind house film from back in the day (a real grind house film, not a Tarantino-esque homage).

So anyway, I like it. Maybe you will, too. On a scale of one to ten, ten being awesome, I’m giving this film 7 evil children.

 

 

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