Speak No Evil (2022) Movie Ending, Explained & Themes Analyzed: We live in an era where people have become overly dependent on the internet, are much more comfortable making friends on social media, and are willing to stay in fictional worlds via virtual reality. Especially after the COVID-19 pandemic that just doesn’t seem to end, a deep fear of going outside has settled into our hearts. It’s true that a few brave souls have ventured into the vast unknown, thereby restarting another wave of diseases that aren’t necessarily related to the coronavirus.

To counter this toxic habit of staying indoors and boosting the tourism industry, hodophiles, influencers, etc., have started urging their fellow non-travelers to seek out unknown places, meet new people, and “experience life.” And if there is one thing that has the power to absolutely and unequivocally derail this operation, it’s the Danish psychological horror drama Speak No Evil (2022).

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Speak No Evil (2022) Movie Summary & Plot Synopsis:

Directed and co-written by Christian Tafdrup and co-writer Mads Tafdrup, Speak No Evil opens with a pretty eerie shot of a man and a woman exiting a car with a boy. The following day, we meet Bjørn (Morten Burian, Louise (Sidsel Siem Koch), and their daughter Agnes (Liva Forsberg), who are enjoying their holiday in Tuscany, Italy. Bjørn is approached by the man from earlier for the chair where he kept his stuff, and he immediately gives it up. He sees the man joining his family, placing the chair, and just keeping his t-shirt on it, indicating that it’s only the beginning of the power play between them.

Later that evening, he comes across this man and his wife again at the dinner table, and they appear to be elated to be with everyone on this vacation. While attending a theatrical performance, Bjørn notices the man looking at him, and it also seems that he’s stalking him at night.

Speak No Evil (2022) Movie Explained

Bjørn doesn’t make too much of it and goes for a trip through the city with his family. Midway, Agnes says that she has lost her toy bunny, Ninus. After some hesitation, Bjørn goes to find it. When he returns, he sees that the man, his wife, and his son are mingling with Louise and Agnes. The man introduces himself as Patrick (Fedja van Huêt), his wife as Karin (Karina Smudlers), and their son as Abel (Marius Damslev), who, BTW, doesn’t speak a lot. When Louise tells how Bjørn went to find Ninus for Agnes, Patrick showers him with praise for being so heroic. Bjørn thinks he is joking, but Patrick doubles down on his admiration and says he respects Bjørn for ensuring his daughter didn’t lose her favorite toy. Impressed by all this, Bjørn and his family go out for lunch with Patrick and his family.

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Speak No Evil [2022]: ‘sundance’ Review – A Brilliantly Twisted Horror Film That Will Haunt Your Vacation Trips

The first thing that Karin does is that she invites Louise to come to Holland (which is where Karin and Patrick are from) with her family, and Louise immediately accepts this invitation. After exchanging some more information about each other – like how Louise is pescatarian or how the Swedish and Dutch people are alike – they part ways. Bjørn, Louise, and Agnes return to their home in Sweden, and sooner or later, they receive a postcard from Patrick and Karin, asking them to spend a weekend in the Dutch countryside. They aren’t entirely convinced, but when their friends nudge them, they pack their bags and head over to Holland.

They reach Patrick and Karin’s house, exchange gifts and pleasantries, and begin to settle in. However, a few things indicate that things are about to go wrong: a) Patrick and Karin’s assumption that Agnes will be comfortable sleeping in the same room with Abel, b) Patrick insisting on Louise to have meat, and c) the fact that Abel doesn’t have a tongue!

Speak No Evil (2022) Movie Themes Analyzed:

The Death of Politeness:

The villains of Speak No Evil, Patrick and Karin, don’t have any world-ending agenda. The only thing they want to do is to use the politeness of the upper middle class against them. The reason why I am explicitly saying the upper middle class is because anyone below their financial status probably won’t be able to make two international trips in a matter of months.

Anyone else will ignore Patrick and Karin’s invitation because they can’t afford it even if they want to. But Bjørn and Louise are too well-off to say that they don’t have enough money in their bank to go to Holland after recently returning from Italy. And Patrick and Karin are very aware of that. That’s why they send that reminder disguised as a postcard to act on their promise. Once that’s done, they begin the next phase of their plan to break Bjørn and Louise’s civility on a macro level.

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Even though the pre-made-up bed in Abel’s room or Patrick insisting Louise try a little meat seem like small things, it’s actually doorways to the more significant gestures of bullying. For example, when they all go on a walk in a picturesque field-cum-park, Patrick roughs up Abel for not allowing Agnes to use the slide. It’s an apparent overreaction on Patrick’s part, but the fact that Bjørn and Louise react very meekly to this rash behavior sends the signal that they aren’t very vocal when it comes to protesting something as objectively wrong as abusing a child.

So, that allows them to decide to let the kids stay back home with a random “babysitter” while the adults go to the local restaurant for dinner. Earlier, we’ve seen how particular Bjørn and Louise are about the person taking care of Agnes. Hence, when they don’t put their foot down this time, it indicates that they won’t speak up against further microaggressions.

What are these microaggressions? Well, Patrick teases Louise’s hypocritical stance on pescetarianism. Then he makes Bjørn pay for the dinner. He enters the bathroom while Louise is taking a shower in there. He watches Bjørn and Louise have sex. It’s only when Louise discovers a sleeping Agnes in Patrick and Karin’s room, who is lying there naked, that she decides to leave.

So, the learning lesson here is that if you aren’t comfortable with something, nip it in the bud. There’s no point in staying silent and hoping the one being offensive is going to back off because they are never going to.

Bullies feed off negative energy; the more you bow down to them, the more hostile they’ll become. Politeness always needs to go two ways. The moment you see that it’s becoming a one-way thing, walk away. You don’t owe anything to anyone. Always prioritize your loved ones and yourself, and ensure they are having a good time.

Toxic Masculinity:

Patrick fits the textbook definition of toxic masculinity. And the route he takes to disarm Bjørn and Louise is fascinating. As mentioned before, it starts with him taking the pool chair. Then he inflates Bjørn’s ego by calling him heroic for retrieving Agnes’s doll. He demeans a Swedish he met in the past by insinuating that Bjørn isn’t all that boring despite being Swedish himself.

He makes Bjørn sound relatable due to their common disinterest in technology. But then he starts to deflate Bjørn by showing the magnanimity of his house; by making Louise eat the meat right in front of him; and by expressing more passion to Karin than Bjørn has probably ever shown to Louise (and then essentially letting Bjørn know that that reignited the flame between him and Louise). And he administers the final blow – the metaphorical one because the literal one comes later – after taking him to a quarry.

Patrick brings Bjørn’s guard down (which was raised after the fiasco with finding Agnes in Patrick and Karin’s bed and their attempt to get out of Holland) by listening to Dutch songs. Then he apologizes for getting drunk and acting brashly. As soon as Bjørn says that it is water under the bridge, Patrick starts about how he feels internally. He says that there’s something wild and powerful within him, and he likes that part of himself.

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Bjørn says that he relates with that sentiment because he thinks he also has a wild side to him that he usually tries to hold down or “keep it in chains.” When Patrick asks him why he does that, Bjørn blames it on society’s rules. He doesn’t think it’s okay to be good or do his daily chores. He believes it is an obligation. And due to that, he feels he has become a person he doesn’t want to be.

Based on Bjørn’s admission about how he sees himself, Patrick determines that he is a classic Beta male. That’s a derogatory term used by Alpha males to define ethical and moral men. Because Alpha males think that they make the rules for everyone else to live by, but they do not apply to themselves. After that assessment, Patrick takes him into some kind of an initiation ceremony where they scream into the void to let their animalistic side out and to feel more “masculine.” But little does Bjørn know that Patrick is actually making him more susceptible to being controlled.

This whole process isn’t turning Bjørn into an Alpha male. It’s only making him see Patrick as the Alpha so that when push comes to the shove, he buckles without so much as a whimper. And, oh my god, does Bjørn buckle while dragging his whole family with him during the tantalizing and infuriating final thirty minutes of Speak No Evil.

Speak No Evil (2022) Explained

Speak No Evil (2022) Movie Ending Explained:

After their little manly escapade, Patrick and Bjørn return home, where Louise and Karin are preparing for lunch. Agnes and Abel convey their intentions to perform a dance routine for all of them. Karin says they can do that while they have their coffee and then tells Agnes to set the table. Meanwhile, Louise accidentally cuts her hand, and Bjørn asks if Patrick can have a look at it since he’s a doctor (Patrick told them that he has worked for Médecins Sans Frontières or Doctors Without Borders).

Patrick bluntly says he lied and has no idea about anything synonymous with medicine. So, naturally, Bjørn what Patrick does to earn money. And he says that he doesn’t because he doesn’t believe in working. During this exchange, Louise notices Karin ordering Agnes around. While having lunch, Karin keeps doing it as well until Louise gets angry and tells her to stop it. Karin immediately apologizes, thereby making it look like Louise has overreacted.

During the dance performance, Abel messes up the choreography. Patrick goes into a massive fit of rage. When Bjørn and Louise try to stop him from verbally abusing Abel like that, both Patrick and Karin tell them not to give any suggestions on how to parent their child. Later that night, Bjørn hears Patrick probably beating Abel up. When everything quiets down, he gets up to see what happened. Instead, his attention is attracted by the light in the shed. So, he goes there only to find it filled with various cameras and suitcases.

He then goes to the second floor and notices that its roof is covered with photos. Upon closer inspection, Bjørn realizes that Patrick and Karin indulge in some kind of child smuggling where they befriend a family on vacation. Then they bring them to their home. They kill the child they got from the previous family and replace it with the current one. And, yes, Agnes is next in line.

As soon as Bjørn discovers Abel’s dead body, he wakes Louise and Agnes up, puts them into the car, and drives away. Assuming Patrick is following him, he panics and runs the car into a muddy part of the forest. After failing to get it out of there, he tells Louise and Agnes to lock the doors and stay inside the car while he goes and looks for help. He doesn’t succeed at that either. And when he returns to the car, he sees that Louise and Agnes aren’t in there.

He discovers Agnes’s doll lying on the road and thinks that Patrick has kidnapped them. The reality is actually worse than that. Patrick and Karin have actually given the two a lift because they are unaware of their dark truth and brought them to Bjørn, who is having a full-on breakdown. When Patrick approaches him and tells him to get into the car, Bjørn pleads with him to let them go. Patrick says that everything will be fine if they do what he tells them to do.

Bjørn and Patrick join Karin, Louise, and Agnes in the car. At one point, Patrick stops to take a piss. Bjørn notices that he has left the keys in the ignition, yet he does nothing because he is completely powerless. And because he thinks that falling in line with Patrick will save him and his family. On the contrary, Patrick takes them to an unknown location. The “babysitter” Muhajid (Hichem Yacaoubi) arrives and holds Louise down. Patrick beats the living hell out of Bjørn when he tries to stop him.

Then he proceeds to open Agnes’s mouth while Karin cuts out her tongue with her scissors. With that, it becomes clear that Abel wasn’t suffering from congenital aglossia (absence of a tongue). They rip out the tongues of the kids they kidnap so that they cannot tell anything to Patrick and Karin’s next victims. The nightmare continues as Muhajid takes Agnes away while Patrick drives Louise, Bjørn, and Karin to the quarry.

In case it wasn’t clear before, Patrick spells it out for Bjørn that he did what he did because they let him. That’s it. And guess what? When he tells Bjørn and Louise to strip, they obey without even flinching. It’s a two-versus-two situation. Agnes is gone. They can take on them if they want to. However, they can’t even lift a finger because Patrick and Karin have entirely destroyed their spirits.

Only their physical vessel remains, which is also killed by stoning. After Louise and Bjørn breathe their last, Patrick and Karin hug each other and heave a sigh of satisfaction as if to say that they’ve proven it yet again that there’s no place for politeness in this world. In the closing minutes of the film, we see the two of them taking Agnes on vacation, thereby indicating that their vicious cycle is going to continue and Agnes is going to be replaced by another child very soon.

Speak No Evil (2022) | A Shudder Original

Speak No Evil (2022) Explained External Links: IMDb
Cast: Morten Burian, Sidsel Siem Koch, Fedja van Huêt, Karina Smulders
Where to watch Speak No Evil (2022)

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