What is the story about?
When Daniel and Sara move into a new house with their son Eric, he starts hearing strange static noises inside the house, but his parents don’t believe him. One night, Eric is found dead in the pool. While Daniel and Sara grow apart due to the loss of their son, Daniel suspects his son may have been trying to tell them about something, and so he enlists the help of German, a paranormal expert, and his daughter Ruth, to figure out what’s wrong. What they find out forms the rest of the story.
Past grief, however tenuous it’s connection with the present may be, is always intrinsic to a horror film. Like Leigh Whannell’s The Invisible Man, which released earlier this year, Don’t Listen plays around with the theme of the horrors of the past manifesting themselves in the unobtrusive present. Director Angel Gomez Hernandez structures the story in medias res by opening the film with a therapist talking to Eric—it is left to the viewer to understand that he has been already experiencing the noises for quite some time. Hernandez chooses to rely upon building the sinister atmosphere for the rest of the film, which is regularly punctuated by surreal imagery and bursts of gory deaths. The performances and the sound design only help the director in nailing the mood. The only thing that goes awry for the director is the background score, which just seems unnecessarily dialed up and robs certain scenes of their dread.
The performances are competent. Rodolfo Sancho captures the vulnerability and tired demeanour of Daniel very well. He is particularly great in the scene at the end when he comes to terms with how his son died. Lucas Blas performs very well as little Eric, while Belen Fabra is dependable as Sara. Ramon Barea and Ana Fernandez are terrific as the paranormal expert German, and Ruth.
Music & Other Departments
Pablo Rosso’s cinematography builds up the mood admirably, and it is only aided by Gabriel Delgado Petersen’s bone-crunching sound design. Jesus Diaz’s background score, however, ruins the party a bit.
In a movie loaded with memorable setups, the scene where Ruth sees dozens of cats hanging by nooses from the giant tree in the yard is certainly my pick.
The bursts of violence and deaths set up by the narrative may not be to everyone’s taste. In fact, it would be better to watch this while not eating.
Did I enjoy it?
I found it alright.
Do I recommend it?
Horror fans will no doubt have their own favourite lists, but they can always give this film a watch.