Don’t Listen (Voces) is one of the new films that was released on Netflix on November 27. This Spanish horror film has ghosts, witches and even delves into Spain’s dark past history, with jump scares galore. The film is already number 9 in the U.K.’s Top 10 Films on Netflix.
Directed by Ángel Gómez Hernández, who co-wrote the script with Santiago Díaz and Juan Moreno, from an original idea with Victor Gado, Don’t Listen is a haunted house horror film, whose premise will remind you of Shirley Jackson’s The Haunting of Hill House. If you enjoy jump scares, then you’ll find this film very entertaining. However, if you’re a cat lover, there is one particular scene that you definitely won’t like.
Don’t Listen tells the story of Daniel (Rodolfo Sancho) and his family, who have just moved into a new house. Daniel essentially makes a living by flipping houses. Daniel’s son Eric (Lucas Blas), however, is eager for them to move to another house. Eric keeps hearing voices. Concerned, Daniel and his wife Sara (Belén Fabra) have called a child psychologist to come and see Eric. She reassures him, but Eric tells her that he can’t sleep because of the voices. The professional discards this to just having a lot of imagination, informing Daniel and Sara that it may be due to the stress of moving houses so many times. As she leaves, however, the psychologist has a fatal car accident, after hearing creepy humming on the radio and a fly entering her ear.
The voices do not stop disturbing Eric. And eventually, the boy is found drowned in the swimming pool under mysterious circumstances. Distraught by the death of their son, Sara moves out of the house. Daniel though decides to stay and finish the house. After Daniel hears his son’s voice calling for help on a voice message he sent to Sara, he seeks the help of a paranormal expert, Germán (Ramón Barea).
Germán arrives at the house with his daughter Ruth (Ana Fernández) and a whole lot of equipment to capture images and sounds of the house. They are thus set on recording the eventual presence of ghosts. A strange figure appears in Eric’s room, only seen through the infrared camera. Their search will lead them to Spain’s own dark past during the Inquisition and their torture mechanisms, when women were murdered as witches.
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Don’t Listen is an effective horror movie about ghosts. It is not exactly scary, but does have numerous jump scares. There is an interesting mystery that revolves around Eric’s death. Germán and his daughter Ruth are slightly more intriguing characters, with a backstory that deserved to have been expanded upon. These two should actually be the protagonists of the film, in my opinion.
However, when the ghosts reveal themselves to be witches, the film takes a different turn. What is particularly interesting in this story is the backstory involving the Inquisition. It is a fascinatingly dark time in Spain’s history, when the Catholic Church persecuted any person they deemed heretics. But the way the film uses this part of history is disappointing. While the Inquisition, and witch trials over the centuries, have killed many innocent women, Don’t Listen perpetrates the myth of the witch who torments and kills for no other reason than they are “evil.”
Don’t Listen is great debut feature, that uses all the well-known tropes of the haunted house horror film. It is an intriguing story, but in the end it does not quite come together. The end credit sequence suggests there might be a sequel to this movie that sees Germán and his daughter Ruth solve another supernatural case.