Variety has been given exclusive access to the international trailer (below) for Danish horror film “Speak No Evil,” which has its world premiere at Sundance. Sales are being handled by TrustNordisk.
The film follows a Danish family on vacation in Tuscany, where they befriend a Dutch family. Months later the Danish couple receive an invitation to visit the Dutch and decide to go for the weekend. However, it doesn’t take long before the joy of reunion is replaced by misunderstandings. Things gradually get out of hand, as the Dutch turn out to be something different than what they have pretended to be.
The film was directed by Christian Tafdrup, and written by Christian Tafdrup and Mads Tafdrup.
Christian Tafdrup describes “Speak No Evil” as a satirical horror movie. “Satirical, because it revolves around ordinary people’s absurdly recognizable ways of behaving. A horror movie, because the film is dark, evil and willingly foul. I hope it will become both funny and terrifying,” he says.
He adds: “Among modern Western people I think there’s a tendency to make decisions based on a cultural dictation about how we should behave, rather than from our own natural judgment. You don’t want to be less than what you’re mandated, and your self-perception weighs heavier than the truth about who you really are. That is, a genuine human being, for better or for worse. We disguise ourselves, while we long to be authentic.”
The cast includes Morten Burian, Sidsel Siem Koch, Karina Smulders and Fedja van Huêt, who played the lead in “Character,” winner of the Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film.
As an actor, Tafdrup starred in Susanne Bier’s Academy Award nominated “After the Wedding,” and the BAFTA winning TV series “Borgen.” He directed three shorts, including “Awakening,” which won the Danish Film Academy’s Robert Award for best short.
His feature film debut as a writer/director, “Parents” (2016), was nominated for Best International Feature Film at the Tribeca Film Festival, and won a Robert for Best Director, a Bodil Award (Danish Critics Award) for Best Screenplay, and both a Robert and Bodil for Best Actor.
His second feature “A Horrible Woman” (2017) sold more than 190,000 tickets in Denmark and was selected for multiple festivals. The film received a Bodil as well as a Robert Award for Best Actress and a Robert for Best Original Screenplay.
“Speak No Evil” is produced by Profile Pictures’ Jacob Jarek, in co-production with OAK Motion Pictures in the Netherlands, with support from the Danish Film Institute, FilmFyn, the Netherlands Film Production Incentive, with co-financing from DR and Nordisk Film Distribution.
Jarek was a co-producer on Nicolas Winding Refn’s “Only God Forgives,” which was selected for Competition at the Cannes Film Festival in 2013. He and his partner Ditte Milsted co-produced Grímur Hákonarson’s Icelandic feature “Rams” (2015), which received numerous awards, including the top prize in the Un Certain Regard section at Cannes.
In 2011, Jarek set up the production company Profile Pictures with Milsted and Thor Sigurjonsson. Among their films are Ali Abassi’s horror film “Shelley,” selected for the Berlinale Panorama in 2016, Rasmus Heisterberg’s youth drama “In the Blood,” selected for Toronto Film Festival in 2016, and Fenar Ahmad’s action drama “Darkland” (2017). He most recently produced season 3 of the TV series “Follow the Money” (2019), and is an executive producer on the series “Sex” (2020) and HBO Max’s “Kamikaze” (2021).