Anyone familiar with paranormal investigating will certainly recognized the term electronic voice phenomena (EVP). However, for the casual horror fan, there really hasn’t been a major movie that exclusively dealt with it since 2005’s White Noise, starring Michael Keaton. The latest Netflix original Don’t Listen (aka Voices in its original Spanish title) uses EVP to explore grief, loss, and the supernatural.
Following the sudden death of his young son Eric, Daniel (Rodolfo Sancho) seeks out famous paranormal investigator and author Germán (Ramón Barea) to find the answer. Prior to Eric’s death, the boy always claimed to hear voices in the house, and as Daniel and the paranormal team investigate, they uncover dark and terrible secrets that house has held for years.
Scares in Subtlety
Don’t Listen is far from the first supernatural horror film to deal with the death of loved ones or haunted houses. However, it sets itself apart with its European subtlety approach, after all it was made in Spain.
One of the biggest criticisms of modern horror (particularly from a certain unnamed production company) is an overreliance on “in your face” and obnoxious scares. Whenever something creepy happens, it’s accompanied by a booming percussive beat that’s just as startling (and deafening) as the jump scare itself. But it always ends up feeling cheap.
Much to its credit, Don’t Listen takes a much more nuanced approach and allows its scares to permeate through a suspenseful atmosphere. It trusts its own storytelling capabilities to not have to resort to such overt tactics to get a jump scare out of its audience.
Sins of the Past
As Shakespeare once wrote several centuries ago, “The sins of the father are to be laid upon the children”. That’s often true in most family dramas and haunted house movies. Both subgenres involve some event in the past that continues to haunt the characters (or their children) years later.
Don’t Listen does an interesting job of combining both uses into one narrative. We see Daniel reeling with immense guilt that he didn’t heed his son’s warnings about being able to hear voices sooner. Even Germán struggles with a similar feeling as he’s dragged his own daughter into his investigation, which many end up costing her more than any of them had bargained for.
Both fathers, along with their sins, come into conflict with the dark deeds that were committed in that house and it all serves as a chilling reminder of the permanent echoes our actions can have; long after we’re gone!
So if you don’t mind reading subtitles (which you shouldn’t), and are a fan of suspenseful and supernatural thrillers, Don’t Listen is probably for you.
Don’t Listen is streaming exclusively on Netflix