A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Don't Listen is a 2020 Spanish-language horror film (with English subtitles) also known as Voces. Eerie music, buzzing killer flies, bodies of the Holy Inquisition victims, and absurd interior logic all conspire to provide major scares and intense, graphic, bloody scenes. Wrongly murdered "witches" from hundreds of years back wreak revenge on innocents, turning them into murderers and suicide victims. Expect to be subjected to stabbings, self mutilation, suicide by gun and hanging, and lots of whispery voices of the dead delivered via walkie-talkie static. Language includes "f--k," "s--t" and "bitch."
What's the story?
In DON'T LISTEN, Daniel (Rodolfo Sanchez), Sara (Belen Fabra), and their young son Eric (Lucas Blas) take on rehabbing a huge old house in the Spanish countryside. It's bad enough that Eric has been yanked from familiar friends and school, but now he's hearing voices through the static on his walkie-talkie. The psychologist who visits assures the parents that Eric is suffering normal anxiety, but when she departs, a fly enters her ear and she drives off the road to be impaled on a tree. Soon after, the boy drowns in the pool in the middle of the night, and the voices he heard start to communicate with the father, who consults a paranormal expert called German (Ramon Barea). German is game to investigate as his wife also committed suicide, and he's long suspected evil spirits drove her to it. He and his skeptical daughter Ruth (Ana Fernandez) set up their electronic equipment at Daniel's house to take thermal and sound readings and are quickly convinced evil spirits killed Eric and are still up to no good. How can the killing be stopped?
Is it any good?
For horror lovers, Don't Listen fulfills all expectations in terms of eerie music, clanging sound effects, menacing ghostly appearances, and bloody results. However, in terms of making sense, this fails on every level. Why do souls tortured hundreds of years ago by religious fanatics need to wreak revenge on an innocent family that happened to move into the wrong house? Dunno.
The good news is that the absurdity shouldn't bother viewers longing to spend time with an extremely disturbing film that delivers lots of scares and things that go bump in the night. The effects are convincing even when the plot isn't, and performances and direction are well executed. If a viewer chooses not to question the faulty premises on which every action is based, this can provide a diverting 98 minutes of gore and heart-stoppers.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about why people being threatened by evil spirits wouldn't just run away from the scene of the threats. How do horror movies manipulate us into believing the circumstances that force ordinary people to do terrible things?
Why do you think Inquisition victims from hundreds of years back would harbor lasting rage and then take it out on innocent people who had nothing to do with their deaths?
Do you believe paranormal activity exists? Why or why not?
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