Sommerleigh Pollonais, Horror Head Writer
Plot: Daniel and Sara have a nine-year-old son, Eric, and they’ve just moved into a new home, unaware the neighbours call it “the house of the voices.” Eric is the first one to notice the odd noises behind each door.
Review: The premise of Don’t Listen (originally titled Voces, Spanish for “voices”) is a common one in supernatural horror movies. Family moves into new home, kid hears and sees things, and ghostly things go bump in the night because ghosts are rude a-holes that don’t appreciate the importance of sleep. But just because we’ve seen it before, doesn’t mean it can’t be entertaining. It’s all in the execution, and Don’t Listen is executed very well.
Spanish Director Ángel Gómez Hernández (shorts Y la muerte lo seguía, Pertenecemos a la muerte) is no stranger to the genre, and in his feature-length film debut manages to take the common tropes of a haunted home and deliver a chilling and atmospheric tale worth watching. Foreign horror movies tend to pack a heavier punch than their American cousins and Don’t Listen doesn’t fail in that regard either. Very early in, a certain character dies. It’s surprising when it happens (at least it was for me as I tend to stay far away from trailers) and it instantly ups the stakes and the tension of the film.
The actors deliver strong, believable performances, and the horror unfolds in smart, creepy ways that will unnerve even the hardest of horror fans. I don’t want to give away too much, but I’ll add the entity here is played by none other than Javier Botet himself! Like Doug Jones (Hellboy, Pan’s Labyrinth, Star Trek: Discovery), Botet is top notch at portraying monsters that make you scream, with his performance as the titular Mama in the 2013 horror film, and his truly surreal and creep-filled take on The Crooked Man in The Conjuring 2, being just a couple of his best. When Botet is in a horror movie, you know you’re gonna jump out of your skin at least once before it’s over.
The only downside here for me was the pacing in the second act dragged a bit. I’ve found a lot of Spanish language horror films can be exposition heavy, which tends to make a film feel sluggish and a tad boring in places. It’s also a bit on the predictable side, especially if you’ve seen a lot of films in this sub-genre of horror.
Still, Don’t Listen is definitely a better-than-average tale of the supernatural. So if you’re looking to shake up your weekend viewing with something scary, you could do a lot worse than this.
Sommer’s Score: 6.5 out of 10
For my review of The Dark and the Wicked you can click here. And for more than 150 horror film reviews and lists you can check out our archive here.
Sommerleigh of the House Pollonais. First of Her Name. Sushi Lover, Queen of Horror Movies, Comic Books and Binge Watching Netflix. Mother of two beautiful black cats named Vader and Kylo. I think eating Popcorn at the movies should be mandatory, PS4 makes the best games ever and I’ll be talking about movies until the zombie apocalypse comes.
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