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Thursday, December 3, 2020

Review: Don't Listen (Voces)

Director: Ángel Gómez Hernández

Screenplay: Santiago Díaz, Ángel Gómez Hernández, Víctor Gado, and Juan Moreno

Year: 2020

Every time I see that a horror movie pops out from Spain, it generates great expectations. This country generally produces good horror movies, such as the recent “Malasaña 32” or the great “Rec”. This time, Netflix's newest Spanish horror addition, “Don’t Listen” (“Voces”), has left me somewhat disappointed. Hoffman

Daniel and Sara buy houses to restore and later sell. Along with their son Eric, they move to an old run-down place where they will live for some time while they fix it.  None of them know that this house is known as the house of the voices,  but they will soon discover the source of this name.

 During the first act of the movie, we get to know Eric (Lucas Blas) and his parents Daniel (Rodolfo Sancho) y Sara (Belén Fabra; “Diary of a Nymphomaniac”) as they install in their new house.  During this part of the movie, some flashes promise that this movie will be different, with plenty of suspense and a graphic death shown in detail with great practical effects. An unexpected event puts the second act in motion, and this is where the movie starts to lose its charm.

From this point forward, instead of a foreign movie, “Don't Listen” resembles more a Hollywood horror movie, using all of the clichés that we hate and that makes them too predictable. Instead of trying to offer a unique story, the director Ángel Gómez Hernández, along with the writers Santiago Díaz, Víctor Gado, and Juan Moreno (“ We Are Pregnant”) orient their story towards unoriginal jump-scares that are not effective because of their predictability. Also, they put a lot of emphasis on the unexpected twists, which work well until the final one, where the twist adds several plot holes and, again, loses effectiveness.

The suspense is one of the aspects that are better crafted and remains relatively constant throughout the movie. Although it is often used to arrive at a jump-scare, the film is completely enveloped by an unsettling atmosphere that makes it interesting. The acting is another one of the aspects that stands out, with a cast that does a great job and creates characters we care about.

“Don’t Listen” suffers from emulating other successful Hollywood horror movies, making it suffer from the same issues:  abusing the jump-scares and genre clichés. It starts with a compelling story and some unexpected events, but it slowly gives way to the search of the jump scare, and it slowly starts falling into predictability. While I cannot say it is a bad movie, I was disappointed by what it offers.

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