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Review: DON’T SPEAK (2020)

Writer/director Scott Jeffrey’s Cupid, while unspectacular, was a major improvement over Mummy Reborn. Now he’s back again with Don’t Speak. Will this creature feature be another improvement? Or was Cupid just a fluke?

Rita (Stephanie Lodge, Witches Of The Water, Beneath the Surface) gets some bad news, her father is in the hospital. She and her husband Alan (Ryan Davies, Heavy Duty) of course want to go comfort her mother. Adult offspring Ben (Jake Watkins) and Charlie (Georgina Jane, Pet Graveyard, Witches of Amityville Academy) and Charlie’s boyfriend Tyler (Will Stanton, The Candy Witch) come along.

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But when they get to Grandma’s house she’s nowhere to be found. Nobody is, the town is deserted. And their Jeep suddenly won’t start, nor will their cell phones get reception. Could it have something to do with the warning sign Ben saw on the way there?

Don’t Speak mixes bits and pieces of Phantoms and The Quiet Place, (it was shot under the lawsuit inviting title of The Silent Place). As you can probably guess from either title, it involves a creature that hunts by sound. Unfortunately, as in the similarly themed Crypsis, the cast can’t keep their mouths shut.

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The effects in Don’t Speak are a major improvement over what I’ve seen in the director’s previous films. The creature itself is actor AJ Blackwell in a monster suit that’s much better than the one in Cupid. There are also several very nasty-looking shots of the wounds the creature inflicts. Unfortunately, the cocoons the creature puts some of its victims in are so obviously nylon mesh it ruins the effect of the scenes.

Sadly, while the effects have improved, the plot has gone in the other direction. With such a small cast, the events need to be stretched out to let the film reach feature-length. Don’t Speak feels very padded. I understand that the bigger effects budget meant they had to keep the cast and body count down. But they still could have kept the film’s pace up. There’s way too much time wasted on people stupidly wandering about alone in the dark and getting attacked. And of Ben wandering around looking like he’s just shit himself while family members die.

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The result is a film with a good monster and some good effects. But the attack scenes themselves are few, far between and less impressive than their aftermath. If they had even ramped up the tension between the attacks, Don’t Speak still might have worked. Instead, it all falls pretty flat.

Don’t Speak is will be available on DVD and Digital March 10 from Uncork’d Entertainment. You can check the production company’s Facebook page for more info.

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