In Christian Tafdrup’s 2022 film “Speak No Evil,” Bjorn and his family are invited to Holland by a Dutch couple whom they had met on their summer vacation to Tuscany, Italy. Bjorn is quite surprised by such an invitation and thus cannot stop thinking about it. In Bjorn, we see a man of culture who thinks that denying such an invitation may look a bit impolite. Bjorn was raised in a cultured society, but after spending a major portion of his life, he now feels claustrophobic. He is living a pretty mundane life, which is why he never misses a chance to escape the clutches of city life. After getting Patrick’s invitation, Bjorn assures himself and his family that Patrick is a doctor and has been quite friendly with them, so what could possibly go wrong during a short visit to Holland? Maybe everything. Bjorn decides to visit the Dutch couple with his family and with this, he makes a choice whose consequences his entire family has to suffer in the end.
Plot Summary: What Is The Film About?
Bjorn has come to Italy with his wife, Louise, and his pre-teen daughter, Agnes, for a much-needed summer vacation. At the tourist villa, he comes across an eccentric but charming man named Patrick, who is vacationing at the same location with his wife, Karin, and a timid kid, Abel. With his extrovert nature, Patrick makes himself known to the entire group of tourists, but it is the introverted Bjorn who finds this Dutch the most fascinating because he yearns for a personality like Patrick’s, probably. Patrick further charms Bjorn by complimenting him on trivial things, and he gets validation out of it. After a bit of conversation, both families decide to sit under a roof and eat together in an Italian cafe, where Bjorn learns about Patrick’s whereabouts and his profession. In the cafe, Patrick charmingly suggests to Bjorn and Louise to take some time out of their busy lives and visit their house in the countryside of Southern Holland.
Some months later, Bjorn gets an invitation card from Patrick, who invites him and his family to spend a weekend with them in the Dutch countryside. While Louise doesn’t entertain the thought any further, it is Bjorn who keeps thinking about Patrick’s invitation and mentions it to his friends. Bjorn is really keen on visiting the countryside and thus persuades Louise to plan the trip through roadways as they have already used their vacation budget for the year. Eventually, Bjorn and his family arrive at Patrick’s small house, where the hosts arrange the necessary amenities for their guests. However, on their first day at the house, Louise starts to feel uncomfortable around the couple. She tells Bjorn that she doesn’t like being there and wants to leave the place as soon as possible. But even after their various attempts to leave the countryside, Bjorn and Louise get stuck in there and meet their fateful end.
‘Speak No Evil’ Ending Explained: Why Did Patrick And Karin Kill Bjorn and Louise?
Christian Tafdrup’s film is a cautionary tale that teaches us to never ever take a stranger’s invitation without doing a proper background check because you never know what intentions run behind those smiling faces. Nevertheless, it was pretty suggestive from the beginning of “Speak No Evil” that Patrick and Karin would eventually end up killing Bjorn and Louise, and it was just a matter of when and where. However, what was more interesting was Patrick’s character and the charms and wits through which he used to lure his victims. It was a classic example of a sinister serial killer or predator who enjoyed toying with his prey’s psyche before eventually murdering them quite brutally. Maybe both Patrick and Karin really liked to hunt their victims, which is why they used “the kid” to bait their prey. The kid was the most important part of their sinister plan because, with a kid in their family, Patrick and Karin looked like a perfectly harmless family whose invitation no one would ever reject.
At the end of “Speak No Evil,” Bjorn went inside the shed where he saw numerous luggage bags, cameras, and photographs of different families clicked together with Patrick and Karin. All these families were victims of the Dutch couple, but what was more frightening to Bjorn was the fact that in each of the pictures, the couple had a different kid. Hence, at this point, he connected the dots and deciphered that Abel was not the couple’s real child, and they had probably taken him away from their previous family. A point to mention here is that in the invitation that Patrick had written to Bjorn, in that letter he intentionally mentioned that his son, Abel, missed Agnes. The kid was the perfect bait to bring the couple to the countryside, which suggested that they always used the kid to lure their victims, and they always targeted a couple with a single kid to maintain the killing pattern. The fact that Abel was not their real kid also explains Patrick’s abusive relationship with Abel who was just a mere trap to catch a new pair of victims. To make it a perfect crime, Patrick and Karin used to get rid of the kid’s tongue so the child wouldn’t be able to warn their next victims about their true intentions. It would traumatize the kids to such an extent that he or she wouldn’t dare speak of evil, which also points to the title of the film.
After Bjorn witnessed the photographs in the shed and Abel’s dead body floating in the pool, he quickly woke up Louise and Agnes and decided to drive away from the monstrous couple in order to protect his family. However, here too, Patrick followed him like a predator. He had already instilled a certain kind of fear in the mind of an introverted Bjorn, who decided to drive off-road in order to lose the car following him on the road. The car got stuck in a ditch, but even at this point, Bjorn didn’t reveal to Louise the things that he had witnessed at the couple’s house. As soon as Bjorn left the car to seek help from a house in the vicinity, Patrick approached Louise and told her that Bjorn had called him for help. Patrick took away Louise and Agnes, and a distraught Bjorn tried to find them. He eventually saw Patrick’s car coming towards him, and as soon as Patrick came out of the car, Bjorn begged him to let his family go, but evidently, he had no such intentions. On their way, Patrick suddenly stopped the car and signaled to his partner in crime, Muhajid, who came out of another car. At this point, Karin used a pair of dull scissors to cut off Agnes’s tongue in order to use her as their next muted bait.
As soon as Muhajid took away a bleeding Agnes, Patrick and Karin brought Bjorn and Louise to an isolated quarry where they asked them to remove their clothes in order to get rid of their own DNA samples, if any. Bjorn asked Patrick why he was killing innocent people, to which Patrick replied that he was only doing it because his victims would let him do it. This reply explains Patrick’s psychopathic nature. Probably he considered himself to be superior as compared to other human beings in society. Also, Patrick never really forced any couple to arrive at their countryside house; instead, he manipulated them to make that choice by themselves, which ironically made them victims of their own decisions. Finally, Patrick compelled the couple to walk down the slope, and suddenly they started hitting Bjorn and Louise with stones to make it look like an accidental death. Before dying, Bjorn apologized to Louise for bringing upon the death of his own family, as it was his decision to accept Patrick’s invitation. Only if Bjorn, a civilized man, had dared to raise his voice against his perpetrators, the fate of his family would have been different. But Bjorn failed to leave behind his pretentious and civilized nature, even at the end of the film, and that was one of the foremost reasons for the doom of his entire family. In the closing shot of “Speak No Evil,” we can see Patrick and Karin in another vacation spot with Agnes, where they target a new family of three and intend to execute the killing in their patented manner. Soon, the couple will kidnap another child, and Agnes will have to die too, but there isn’t anything one can do about it until Patrick and Karin come across a couple or person willing to fight against evil.
“Speak No Evil” is a 2022 Drama Thriller film directed by Christian Tafdrup.