Don’t Listen review – a horror that’s well directed but lacks the depth

November 27, 2020
Daniel Hart 1
Film Reviews, Netflix
2.5

Summary

If you are enjoying a horror night, this might be worth keeping on the pile. Otherwise, this is just your typical beggy horror film.

2.5

Summary

If you are enjoying a horror night, this might be worth keeping on the pile. Otherwise, this is just your typical beggy horror film.

This review of Spanish Netflix film Don’t Listen contains no spoilers. The horror film was released on the platform on November 27, 2020


Without discrediting Ángel Gómez Hernández’s feature-length debut, I am getting a little sick of these repetitive horror films. It’s strange because a couple of years ago, my views on horror were quite limited and I was easily spooked by anything that arrived on my screen. Jump forward two years with an established website, and I now understand every trope going in the genre. It’s a shame in many ways; it’s a little bit like when the magic of Christmas wears off when you become a late teenager. It’s just not the same unless the horror film does something different from the rest of the market.

When I reviewed Kaali Khuhi, I noted that it was a film that only tried to provide atmosphere, and it left its script at home. Spanish film Don’t Listen tries extremely hard to get the atmosphere right, and while there is a script there and the essence of family togetherness that is compounded by evil, it does lack an actual story, which results in little depth.

What is impressive is the director’s use of the environment; while I haven’t seen the reported budget, you can tell that the production team will not have had to shell out that much money on the sets. The horror is implied for most of the film, with the evil lurking presumed to be present rather than appearing in every other scene and terrorizing the characters. The director has done remarkably well to direct the evil into the scenes without having to rely too much on props.

Netflix’s Don’t Listen is a routine story of a family investing in a large home in the middle of nowhere, but the threat of life continues to increase as it progresses into each act. When the child of the family, Eric, starts to hear voices behind doors, that’s when the story jumps into action, and slowly but surely, the family begins to realize that they’ve invested into the wrong house. This is a typical horror trope of squeezing the evil out of the house scenario, and while it works, it serves zero originality or enough depth for the audience to care.

The cast does remarkably well to hammer home the script, but there was scope to elevate the performances. The story implies desperation, but the emotion does not translate enough into the cast — again, like the film mentioned before, the production has set its sights on the atmosphere; the music that underlies the moments, but it’s forgotten about the characters. Sometimes the horror can be their experiences, not the anticipation of what’s to come.

If you are enjoying a horror night, this might be worth keeping on the pile. Otherwise, this is just your typical beggy horror film.


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1 thought on “Don’t Listen review – a horror that’s well directed but lacks the depth

  • November 28, 2020 at 8:38 am
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    I want to say how much I appreciate you explaining how you’ve grown over the past two years as a horror aficionado. As someone who watches a LOT of horror (30 years of it, and for the last few I watched 4-10 horror movies a week) I’m frequently annoyed by favorable reviews of mediocre movies. Don’t they know this is just a worse version of XXXXXX? Why don’t they compare this to XXXXXX? And in the worst-case scenarios, haven’t they ever SEEN a horror movie before?

    And good review, btw.

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