A single mother fights to protect her daughter from demonically possessed children and a town gone mad.
Written, directed and edited by one known simply as ‘Roze’, Speak No Evil is only the second feature length that he has directed before. That in itself is an impressive feat and I thought that the camerawork was very professional looking. However, I personally didn’t feel that there was anything unique about this film. The plot was a fairly average one and seemed like something I’ve seen a fair number of times. Village of the Damned (1960 and again in 1995). Children of the Corn (1984). The Children (2008). To name just a few. But here’s a brief synopsis anyway to give you a flavour of Speak No Evil…
Upon discovering that her daughter, Joey, has gone missing, single mother Anna goes on a frantic mission to try and find her. When she turns up at the father’s house, she realises that Joey has not run away there and he gets angry at her lack of vigilance with looking after her. However, it soon becomes apparent that every child in the entire town has gone missing, and the people are in uproar. Anna is not consoled by this, especially when she starts getting flashes of weird demon activity surrounding this whole affair. Unexpectedly though, all of the children appear again and walk towards their parents in a daze. They’ve changed. Joey has lost her tongue. At first grateful for the return of the children, the parents are soon overwhelmed and chaos ensues when the ‘possessed’ children start to attack, forcing them to take drastic action themselves.
Far too much of the film seemed to be taken up by what I’d call, ‘running around like headless chickens’ stuff. Obviously, this is a staple part of most horror films, but should not be dragged on for far longer than necessary. Anna, the protagonist, was not quite right either – and this definitely made the film less enjoyable. She was far too passive to be a real hero to root for, and didn’t make many logical decisions. I understand that losing a child must be traumatic, but her behaviour was rather head scratching. And even when it was clear that Joey was possessed, acting like a feral animal, Anna was insistent that she was fine. Anna really wasn’t as disturbed by the situation as she ought to have been.
As for the religious connotations that the film revolved around, none of this was explained coherently enough, and I was personally left scratching my head. Speak No Evil seemed to rely on its moral message simply being, the devil (or demons, whatever) are evil and just do evil things for no reason at all (other than to be evil!). This is unsatisfying to be honest, and I would have liked the series of disastrous events to have at least been connected in even a tenuous way. It was never really explained about what that crazy lady was all about. Or why Joey had her tongue cut out, but none of the other children did. Yet the other children didn’t even talk anyway, so why was the tongue cutting even necessary? And I don’t want to give away the ending, but I don’t know how the drinking blood thing fit in anywhere.
I’d say that giving Speak No Evil a miss would not be the end of the world, because you’re not missing anything that you haven’t seen before, and seen done better. It was a nice attempt, but I think the fundamental problem here really lies with the story itself, so no amount of clever cinematography or great acting would have saved it. There’s a fair amount of blood and some ‘possession’ stuff which might be of interest to some horror fans, but for me, that was not enough to entertain me.