There’s just something about possessed children that really freaks me the hell out. When done wrong, they’re a disaster and quite laughable, but when done right, they’re able to really get under your skin, creeping you out and making you wonder what will happen next. Luckily for horror fans, SPEAK NO EVIL falls into the latter category, hitting its marks throughout and easily overcoming any small amount of nitpicks that could be found with the film.
SPEAK NO EVIL follows Anna (Gabrielle Stone), a mother who doesn’t quite have the parenting thing down, focusing more on herself than on her daughter Joey. One night, while Anna is busy hooking up with a local guy named Creighton (Carl Jensen IV) , Joey disappears after seeing a creature rise up from the ground. Anna begins to search for her daughter, and not too long after, the whole town’s children go missing as well, and blame Anna’s “sins” as the cause of the disappearances. The kids soon reappear, but heavily damaged emotionally, and in Joey’s case, physically, as she comes back without a tongue.
While the film has a few issues with its pacing and character development during the whole setup, when the kids reappear, it quickly makes up for those issues with giving viewers a second half that is as uncomfortable (in the best way) and intense as it gets, heading into the crazed religious lynch mob category, when the townspeople decide that to get rid of the situation, that they need to kill all of the children. It’s a well written and executed second half, as Anna and Creighton attempt to piece together the puzzle of what happened and what Anna needs to do to stop it, before it’s way too late, and before the residents take out the whole population of children.
The combination of Gabrielle Stone (who is the daughter of genre favorite Dee Wallace) and Carl Jensen IV as Anna and Creighton really helps the film’s story, as they try to save Joey & the rest of the kids, and talk some sense into the townsfolk. Their chemistry really works, and you believe that they’re in it together, as they face not only crazed religious people but also whatever demonic entity that took the children.
Aside from an unflinching second half that keeps you on the edge of your seat, what really works for the film is that beneath the surface, it’s really about parenthood, and making the choice to put yourself in harm’s way instead of your child, and the sacrifices that parents must make to protect their kids. It’s a much smarter and metaphorical film than what it will be given credit for being from most viewers, but with that being said, it could be enjoyed either way, as something on or below the surface. While not perfect, SPEAK NO EVIL really hits an emotional chord and never lets up, keeping you on board as the story plays out in front of you.
SPEAK NO EVIL is currently hitting select theaters in a film tour throughout October. For more info, check out http://mindplate.tv/