Film Review: DON’T SPEAK (2019)

DON’T SPEAK ** USA 2019 Dir: Scott Jeffrey. 84 mins

Here is a movie from the normally thrill filled house of Uncork’d that will lure all you killer thriller lovers into what starts as a good, eerie, dark and stalking film and then sadly diminishes into its own false web of insecurity.

The lighting, which is often a bit too dark to appreciate the visuals, and sound by Dean McGinnes are ok and keep you watching what turns out to be a rather cliched effort at the well worn killer thriller genre that is pulled off so well in greats like Aliens and The Fly. This film, I’m afraid, tries too hard in the wrong areas with average acting and a poorly constructed story that doesn’t allow for much in the way of character attachment or any meaningful villain development.

In short, a rather boring family journey off to investigate strange goings on at their grandma’s house in the country and then find themselves hunted by some sort of alien spider beast that the film cryptically connects to some sort of nuclear testing in the area, but I wasn’t quite sure. They all then proceed to get soaked in blood and goo for the rest of the movie and as a result the rest seems to stay mired in it’s own gooey mess right up until it’s strange and muted finale that seemed to have no purpose other than to end my own personal viewing nightmare.

True spider fans will hate this because spiders just don’t hunt the way the film shows and without any attempts at dark or twisted humour I always felt that I was left waiting for some good action and suspense that the film often promised but never fully delivered on screen. Irony was even lost in the title as the strange creature hates sound, so the protagonists’ use of silence proved to be the wrong choice for them to take that leads to their own and the film’s sad demise by way of any believability. Maybe it would have suited the title ‘Just Shout’ more, who knows?

It was always a case of too little too late as Don’t Speak felt to me like a fairly low budget, barely adequate attempt at what could have been a decent killer thriller if it’s many loose threads had been drawn together into a more coherent whole, but it failed to set me on edge or get in my head like I would have liked it to. However, if lots of pointless blood-letting and goo-spraying are to your taste then this is the one for you. I did find one chuckle though when Alan, played by Ryan Davies, asks of the half-dead landlord with comical tactlessness, “You OK? ” which he quite clearly was not. Very Pythonesque I thought.

Sadly, I like a bit more to chew on in a horror fantasy film and there was barely enough here for the strange monster to get it’s gooey teeth into. This film to me was a rather staid and non immersive experience inside a blood-soaked web of non-intrigue. But hey! Each to their own I guess.

Review by Nathan Sandiford


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