Screened as part of NZIFF 2022

Speak No Evil 2022


Directed by Christian Tafdrup

A weekend getaway becomes a holiday from hell for a Danish family in this mercilessly unnerving horror flick from Danish director Christian Tafdrup.

Denmark In Danish, Dutch and English with English subtitles
98 minutes DCP



Jacob Jarek


Christian Tafdrup, Mads Tafdrup


Erik Molberg Hansen


Nicolaj Monberg

Production designer

Sabine Hviid

Costume designer

Louize Nissen


Sune Kølster


Morten Burian (Bjørn)
Sidsel Siem Koch (Louise)
Fedja van Huêt (Patrick)
Karina Smulders (Karin)
Liva Forsberg (Agnes)
Marius Damslev (Abel)


Sundance 2022


Lovers of Scandi thrillers should be very careful what they wish for as this slow-burn, excruciating vacay from hell takes the comic discomfort of its premise to ultra-agonising levels. The setup feels familiar; two vacationing couples with kids (Danish & Dutch) meet and click. The Danes’ compliant nature and fear of causing offense sees them take up an enthusiastic offer of a future catchup from the Dutch. The family dynamics couldn’t be more different once the Danes, Bjørn and Louise, are on the home turf of the Dutch, Patrick and Karin. The horrors of casual acquaintances suddenly realising they have nothing in common will become the meaty crux of the mind games and sadism to follow.

The film does a superb job of forensically dissecting the uneasy expectations between the couples. The clever script begins with micro-aggressions before the destruction of social mores and the Danes’ slow realisation they might be responsible for the paralysing claustrophobia they now find themselves in. Christian Tafdrup's tight control and execution of this sick sojourn creates a defining moment of modern Danish cinema. A talented provocateur who picked up Haneke’s baton and has proceeded to club baby seals with it. You’ve been warned. — Ant Timpson