Don’t Listen (2020)

I’ve changed my mind a bunch of times about what should be the last weekday horror movie in October that’s not a part of the Hellbound Halloween. Lot of caveats there, I know. I eventually decided it would be one of the movies I was going to watch for this week’s Movie Night. And the selections were… very different. The Gay Bed and Breakfast of Terror is a bad movie and I have a lot to say about it, but that’s going to have to wait until November cause I want to talk about something actually good before the month is over. And foreign! I really need to watch more non-English movies!

Don’t Listen, AKA Voces, AKA Voices is a hard movie to talk about without spoilers. A family moves to a new house seemingly in the middle of nowhere in order to refurbish it and sell it for a profit (no, the true villain isn’t technically gentrification). But Daniel and Sara’s son, Eric, is hearing voices. Not the schizophrenic kind–although the movie does open with Eric talking to a therapist–but of the evil variety. Then… that’s about all I can say without major spoilers. I won’t spoil the ending, but you have been otherwise warned.

So Eric drowns. I call it “pulling a Hereditary,” killing off what you think is the kid main character–if it was an adult, it’d be “pulling a Psycho.” Props to the people who cut the trailer, because it did not spoil that early twist. Sara moves to be with her parents, leaving Daniel alone to try and finish the remodeling since they’re otherwise broke. But then he starts hearing voices, including those of Eric. Daniel contacts a paranormal investigator, Germán, who brings along his daughter Ruth to investigate. True to a good horror film, things do not go well. There’s absolutely evil in the house, and it’s got murder on the mind. I thought it was pretty good! Not perfect–the climax kind of involves all the characters making the worst decisions possible, starting with splitting up–but it was a lot better than The Gay Bed and Breakfast of Terror. So, so much better…

Oh, and there’s a post-credits scene suggesting there may be a sequel dealing with an exorcism. Director Ángel Gómez Hernández is set to direct a film called The Pope’s Exorcist at some point, so maybe that’s related. Gonna have to keep an eye on that.

Voces has an Easter egg that I didn’t notice at first. Daniel first meets Germán at a book signing, and the freakishly tall man in front of him in line is Mr. Javier Botet, THE guy to play gaunt monsters nowadays. He tends to skew towards Spanish movies–like all four REC films–because he’s from Spain, but he’s been in American mainstream horror films like It, It Chapter Two, Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark, Crimson Peak, and even some garbage like Devil’s Gate, 2017’s The Mummy, and Slender Man! It’s weird to see him without any monster makeup, but a fun treat for nerds like me.

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