SPEAK NO EVIL | DVD HORROR REVIEW

Kernel John is back with a Z grade, straight to DVD horror movie review. I love his low grade horror reviews, he seems to do them best, doesn’t lose his shit like me and some of the other kernels, instead he really does find the humour in poor filmmaking. I have a nice chuckle reading these reviews, as will you :). SPEAK NO EVIL is a straight to DVD movie from Gryphon Entertainment, we love these guys, they release most of the trash films direct to DVD and amongst the trash is the occasional treasure. SPEAK NO EVIL is out now on DVD, it is rated MA15+ and runs for 76mins. It can be obtained from most DVD outlets. Enjoy John’s tortured analysis……all the best……JK.

 

SPEAK NO EVIL MOVIE POSTER IMAGE
SPEAK NO EVIL | SALTY POPCORN HORROR DVD REVIEW | MOVIE POSTER

 

REVIEW BY JOHN MCPARLAND

Low budget films are notorious for being underwhelming. I suppose they cannot really help it; after all, audiences are so used to big budget action and excellent actors, that anything less seems to fall flat. However, every once in a while you find a true gem of a movie, that a dedicated few have managed to create with a mere pittance. Films such as Australia’s own GABRIEL, made with a tiny $150,000, recouped ten times that amount at the box office alone, and was a visually stunning movie considering its financial limitations. However, at the other end of the low budget spectrum are the bad films. Even then though, there are bad films and there are bad films. SPEAK NO EVIL is easily the latter.

Roze (yes, just Roze; like Cher I guess…) directs this confusing and unsuspenseful horror flick, about a child-possessing demon who Pied Piper’s himself a town full of kiddies before sending his tiny minions off on a killing spree. Key to this demon’s plot is little girl Joey. Stolen by the demon from her bedroom, Joey is the first child to be abducted from the town. Mother Anna, portrayed by Gabrielle Stone, was too busy sexing her new boyfriend in the next room to notice the preteen’s disappearance. The cops are later called to investigate, but rapidly assume Joey has just run away from home, dismissing the notion of abduction, and blaming the mother for the whole situation. It seems the police feel that instead of getting knocked up with Joey at age fifteen, and then having the gall to have sex again ten years later on the night her daughter was taken, Anna would have been better off lurking in her child’s room, ready to crash tackle her should she have tried to run off.

 

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SPEAK NO EVIL | SALTY POPCORN HORROR DVD REVIEW | EVIL SPAWN OF SATAN KIDS

 

When every single other child in the town goes missing the very next day, people start to assume that it is probably not a simple case of the mass runaways. So in true small town style, many of those fine folks blame the premarital-sex-having, teenage-pregnancy-falling, premarital-sex-having-again, mother-of-first-child-taken-being, Anna. Like the truly uncaring bitch she has been painted to be, Anna flips the bird at the town’s new found hatred of herself, and heads off with new boyfriend in tow, to enlist the aid of an ex-boyfriend who is apparently really good at finding things, like children. Which in and of itself is kind of creepy, not to mention super awkward for Anna’s new beau. Lucky for him, the ex does not want to have anything to do with Anna, something about being convinced he was Joey’s father, spending ten years of his life looking after the little tyke, only to be told “Psych, she ain’t yours foolio! There were so many homies up in the crib that night, I ain’t even be knowing who is my baby daddy!” At least, that is how I imagined that conversation going, even though no one in this film is stereotypically black; it just seems in keeping with the way everyone in this town reacts towards Anna.

Shortly after Anna is rejected by Joey’s not-father, all the kids miraculously walk out of the desert and back into town. It appears that all those search parties the parents were trying to organise consisted of little more than checking behind the sofa. Being carried aloft by the drugged out looking children is Joey, held as if she is riding high after jumping off the stage and into the mosh pit at a Justin Bieber concert. Only she is not having all that much fun. She has had her tongue cut out, lost a lot of blood, and is in desperate need of medical attention. Damn, this film just got heavy.

 

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SPEAK NO EVIL | SALTY POPCORN HORROR DVD REVIEW | OH BACKBENDS – HORROR STANDARD NOW

 

The rest of the kids are also not quite with it. Alternating between zoned out, manic, and throwing up black blood, the town starts to fear the returned children, and for good reason too. Possessed and acting like zombies, the little rascals start munching their way through the adults in gory detail. The secret lies with Joey it seems, who knows the demon’s name. Speaking the name aloud by one who has been possessed by the demon breaks the spell. Gutturally gurgling the name apparently does not work, hence the cutting out of Joey’s tongue. What follows next is around an hour of zombie children eating their parents, while the surviving inhabitants of this rural American town struggle to find more than one gun between them. Through it all, Anna tries to prevent Joey racking up too high a body count, while also hiding her from the rightly irked town mob executing anything under four feet tall.

The film’s premise is strange to say the least. Sure, a child is possessed and goes crazy all the time in horror movies, but a whole army of zombie kids is a new one for me, and I think I know why I have not seen this sort of thing before. When you put someone young in a horrible situation, it creates almost a biological response in the audience members to want to save them. Thus, it causes an even greater viewer reaction when things go poorly for the child, than should the same calamity befall an adult. Indeed, to this film’s credit I was a little upset when the first 8 year old was double tapped. Sadly though, the impact quickly wore thin due to the sheer number of possessed, and I instead started laughing at the fumbling, rudimentary weapon wielding parents, who could not seem to end a primary school aged temper tantrum. The reason you do not rank and file your zombie army with children, is much the same as why most zombie movies take place after the world has ended, conveniently skipping over how the mobilisation and combined forces of every army, police, hunting club, gun toting hillbilly, and girl scout troop on Earth managed to be defeated: it does not make sense.

 

SPEAK NO EVIL MOVIE IMAGE
SPEAK NO EVIL | SALTY POPCORN HORROR DVD REVIEW | MORE BLOOD

 

The acting is also very average. Anna is the only real main character and her scenes are often dull and uninspired. Your child has been abducted, possessed by a demon from the seventh circle of hell, zombies are killing everyone you know, and the survivors will no doubt still think of you as a whore, surely there is something there that as an actor you could use to portray realism. Sadly, Stone’s few moments of displaying emotion are outweighed by those times where she stares woodenly down the lens.

Roze’s direction is also of concern. At one point a plaid wearing pastor attempts to exorcise the demon from a constantly, endlessly, incessantly screaming girl. The scene takes around five minutes and the child does not stop screaming throughout the entire ordeal. She is so loud and grating in her screams that I could not make out a single word the pastor was saying. I actually got up to make myself a sandwich, literally left the film running while I got myself a snack, and came back a few minutes later just in time to watch even more pointless screaming.

I understand that this is a low budget movie, but even still, it could have been much more. Average acting, terrible camera work, questionable direction, and a storyline that weaves all over the place weigh heavily on this film. We start with abduction, and then move to possession; mass zombification, and then wholesale slaughter; all with a crazy half-donkey half-man demon thing pulling the strings. SPEAK NO EVIL carries with it far too convoluted a plot in its failed attempt to mash together multiple horror styles, that it just left me disinterested and underwhelmed. Giving it a single kernel seems almost an insult to the last B-grade horror flick I reviewed, SCARECROW, but at least this film added a good dash of gore to try to carry it along.

 

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