Spain has low-key been a purveyor of crescendoing dread for years, but is rarely recognized for it outwith specialist genre circles. Its latest example of such, Don’t Listen, hit Netflix last week, and is suitably creeping out audiences to the extent that it’s been a fixture in the Top 10 of dozens of countries.
The story sees a couple and their young son move into a creepy old house to renovate and sell, only for the child to begin hearing voices over his walkie-talkie, while his drawings appear to predict imminent tragedy. There isn’t much plot-specific information that doesn’t delve into spoiler territory, but be assured that it’s as emotionally devastating as it is supernaturally eerie.
Various apparitions are shown through different techniques, such as humanoid shapes in infrared imaging, gangly limbs seen where no person should be, and, of course, the ever-present crackle of disembodied speech breaking through radio static. Periodic closeups are seen of buzzing flies emerging from bleeding ears, and several moments leave you unsure which is scarier: not being able to completely see something and imagining what horror is about to be unleashed, or actually finding out.
To be honest, much of what’s featured will be familiar to anyone who watches enough movies of a similar bent, but rather than just building up to the next moment of terror (of which there are plenty, trust us), the focus of Don’t Listen on human emotion, the pain of lost loved ones and how we might react if given the opportunity to hear their voices again, and exploration into how sorrow and desperation shapes our actions, all make it well worth a watch if you’re a Netflix subscriber.