As the global pandemic continues to cause disruption to the film industry, and release schedules go out of the window completely, streaming services are having to dig deep to find new content to keep subscribers entertained (and paying their subs fees). As such, you may have noticed many services are currently serving up titles that you may be less than familiar with.
From long-forgotten films, to obscure TV movies, streaming services are trying their hardest to unearth some gems, and offer something new to watch. This also includes serving up a healthy dose of foreign language movies that might have previously been overlooked on some streaming services, in favour of the usual big blockbusters.
When it comes to foreign language films, in recent weeks I have reviewed the South Korean zombie movie, #Alive, as well as the Norwegian horror film, Cadaver, and the French coming-of-age picture, Summer of ‘85. Today I am turning my attention to Don’t Listen (aka Voces) – a Spanish horror movie which has just landed on Netflix.
Directed by Ángel Gómez Hernández, Don’t Listen is a haunted house picture starring Rodolfo Sancho, Ramón Barea, and Ana Fernández. The movie tells the story of a family (mum, dad, and a little boy) who encounter something sinister in their new home.
In the movie, the family temporarily move into the house while the father renovates the property in order to sell it on at a higher price. However, shortly after they arrive, the youngest member of the family begins to exhibit unusual behaviour, leading to two very concerned parents.
As the story progresses, it becomes apparent that a dark force is inhabiting the house and its new residents are in grave danger. This all leads to some grisly scenes, as well as some unexpected revelations which link back to a significant period in Spanish history.
Don’t Listen is one of those movies which really flew under the radar for me. I knew next-to-nothing about the film ahead of its release, and didn’t know what to expect when I pressed play.
Early into the picture I believed I knew exactly where the story was going, and while it seemed pretty decent, I figured it would be a watchable, but ultimately predictable horror film. But 25-minutes into the movie, the story turned direction slightly and I could feel it shifting a little in its subject matter. The film that I started out with was becoming something else, and characters who I assumed would stick around for the entirety of the movie came and went at the whim of the story.
These unexpected developments drew me deeper into the film and ensured that I remained interested up until its conclusion. It held my attention for 98-minutes, and did so in all its chilling glory.
Was I scared throughout? No – but I was suitably creeped out. While Don’t Listen does include some jump scares, it is a picture which favours atmosphere, and as such I found myself immersed into its haunting world, and removed from my own reality in the process – a sign of a good movie.
And that’s what I believe Don’t Listen to be – a good movie. This is a strong, confident film, which boasts great central performances from its cast, an unnerving soundtrack, plenty of chills, and a very dark underbelly.
Don’t Listen is also a film which wears its horror influences with pride. It is clear director Ángel Gómez Hernández is well versed in classic horror movies, and some of these films seep into this picture.
I counted allusions to Don’t Look Now (1973), The Exorcist (1973), The Omen (1976), Paranormal Activity (2007), The Conjuring (2013), and even White Noise (2005) within the mix, but I am sure there are more. Don’t Listen doesn’t steal from these pictures, they are instead baked into its DNA to create a film with depth and an understanding of how to terrify its audience.
For those still struggling for something to watch in these strange times we find ourselves in, I recommend looking towards Don’t Listen. This is an excellent ghost story, perfect for the current cold nights, and guaranteed to create unease.
I would happily watch this movie again, and if the after-credit scene is anything to go by, I expect to be seeing more from this world in the not-too distant future. I can’t wait.