Forty-five years ago writer/director George A. Romero and co-writer John A. Russo brought to the world a little horror flick titled Night of the Living Dead. At the time that Romero ad Russo’s movie debuted few if any studios at any level were putting out horror movies of its ilk. In the decades since its debut, it has gone on to become the model for almost every horror writer and director out there. It has also gone on to be the seed for what has become one of the most popular sub-genres of the horror realm if not the most popular. Countless zombie knockoffs have been churned out in theaters ever since. And AMC’s comic book based zombie serial The Walking Dead has become one of the biggest shows on television today. With so many different zombie-centric movies and TV shows out there, it leaves one wondering how the industry can keep the success of the zombie sub-genre going without letting it get stale. Lionsgate presented one potential answer late in 2014 when it released the indie-horror flick Speak No Evil. It is quite obvious in watching Speak No Evil that it is an independent flick. But it is still a piece that is worth at least one watch by anyone that has any interest in or love of zombie flicks. The main reason for it being worth at least one watch is its story. Rather than turning adults into flesh-eating zombies, it’s the kids’ turn to take on that mantle. Adding to the interest is the fact that it is all the result of a biblical-era demon awakening from its slumber. It actually puts an interesting little twist on the far too oft used plotlines for previous zombie flicks and TV shows. And while the story itself makes the movie worth the watch, it isn’t without its flaws. The major issue with the writing comes in its continuity. The story has a tendency to jump from point to point throughout its roughly seventy-four minute run time. This proves to be somewhat problematic as it does bear the possibility of losing audiences along the way. Luckily it isn’t so problematic that it ruins the movie. That’s at least the case for those that can overlook this issue and try to keep track of everything going on. The story’s pacing is another issue that weighs down the movie. While it does keep audiences engaged, it also proves to be its own con, too. That’s because as fast as the story moves, coupled with the continuity issues, it is possible to leave audiences feeling just as lost as the continuity issues alone. And then there is the issue of the movie’s cinematography. It is just as jumpy at times as the scene transitions. All three issues together show that Speak No Evil is anything but perfect. It isn’t the worst horror flick ever released. But it also could have been better. Of course for all of the negatives found in Speak No Evil, it isn’t without its positives. One more positive that can be noted of this indie horror flick is its run time. The movie’s run time is roughly seventy-four minutes. That’s counting credits. Not counting its end credits, it clocks in at barely more than an hour. Being that its run time is so short relatively speaking, the issues that do arise throughout the movie are minimized enough to make the movie bearable and worth at least one watch. The end result in considering this is a movie that while anything but perfect deserves at least some credit for trying.
Speak No Evil is an interesting addition to the zombie world. The reason being that it isn’t necessarily the standard flick about flesh-eating zombies that audiences have seen again and again from so many other scripts. Rather than just being another one of those cookie cutter flicks, single-named writer/director Roze has crafted a story in this movie’s script that turns the attention to a younger group of individuals. He turns said younger individuals into the zombies instead of their older, adult counterparts in the case of this movie. Even more interesting is that in assembling his script, Roze has created an original way in which the children are turned into zombies. Rather than it just be some virus spread by victims being bitten, Roze’s script sees the children being turned into evil, blood-thirsty zombies by an equally evil, biblical-era demon. The demon in question wants nothing more than to cause the adults to kill the children by their own hands. Of course that does happen to a certain extent as audiences will see. It’s disturbing to say the least. But Roze is to be commended for going this route. The reason that he should be commended is the message that lies beneath it all. No parent ever wants to see harm come to their child. Yet great harm has in fact come to them. And it has led the adults in the movie’s small southwest town to do the absolutely unthinkable in order to save the town’s population. It makes for a rather interesting discussion starting point in watching this movie. If for no reason other than for Roze having taken such an original route in crafting his story, it makes Speak No Evil worth at least one watch.
The story behind Speak No Evil is in itself plenty of reason for audiences to watch this indie horror at least once. As interesting as the story makes the movie’s overall presentation, there are some obvious issues with the movie in whole that cannot be ignored. One of those issues is the movie’s continuity. Single-named writer/director Roze has crafted a script for this movie that has a severe tendency to jump around at points without any clear and concise transitions. This leaves a great possibility of losing audiences along the way. As prevalent as it is, throughout the movie’s roughly seventy-four minute run time, it is not so much of an issue that it would kill the movie altogether. That’s at least the case for anyone that can overlook this issue. So whatever script Roze works next, he should most definitely take this into consideration. In the same vein, the movie’s pacing proves to be just as much a con as a pro. The story’s pacing keeps the movie running and in turn helps to keep audiences from being too badly distracted by the script’s continuity issues. At the same time though, the pacing is just as problematic as it is positive. That is because coupled with the story’s continuity problems, it can in fact leave viewers feeling lost. It all depends on the viewer. Viewers that can manage to look past the issues of continuity and pacing are still faced with the issue of cinematography in this movie. The movie’s cinematography is just as much a problem as the pacing and continuity. That is because it works in tandem with those issues at a near breakneck speed. It’s enough to sometimes leave audiences feeling not just lost but dizzy, too. Sadly all three of these cons together take a lot away from the movie. Thankfully though, the movie’s run time makes up for that. Just like its largely original plot, the movie’s run time works to its benefit, making for at least one more reason for audiences to watch it at least once.
There is a lot to say in regards to the issues that weigh down Speak No Evil. That is obvious in the discussion noted above. For all of the issues that rise in watching this indie horror flick, they aren’t enough to make the movie completely unwatchable. That is thanks primarily to the movie’s mostly original plot. The movie’s run time is just as much to thank for its ability to keep audiences watching even despite its problems. The movie’s total run time comes in at roughly seventy-four minutes. That is counting its end credits. Sans credits, it comes in at barely more than an hour. It comes in at about an hour and maybe five minutes. So it really isn’t that long of a movie. Because it isn’t that long, the problems that do come up don’t occur so much so that they do major damage to the movie’s enjoyment. Coupled with the positive side of the movie’s pacing and its largely original plot, that run time makes the movie that much more bearable even with just a single watch. The end result of that mostly original plot and the movie’s relatively short run time is a presentation that despite its blatant issues that is worth at least one watch by any lover of both the horror realm and its zombie sub-genre.
Speak No Evil is available now in stores and online. It can be ordered online direct from Lionsgate’s online store at https://www.lionsgateshop.com/search_results.asp?Search=Speak%20No%20Evil. More information on this and other titles from Lionsgate is available online at:
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