Christian Tafdrup Knew Speak No Evil Would Draw Comparisons To Funny Games

“Speak No Evil” is a bleak, harrowing film once the reality of the situation comes to the surface, but it’s also operating with an unsettling streak of dark comedy, even as the stakes escalate beyond comprehension. In a recent interview with, director and co-writer Christian Tafdrup explains that this humor was a conscious decision. “We talked about ‘Funny Games,’ by Michael Haneke, who also uses horror in a realistic way,” he says. One of the major differences between the two films is that in “Funny Games,” the duo is violent almost immediately, whereas the danger of “Speak No Evil” slowly creeps into the fold. “We had a couple who could leave every minute but did not, and why don’t they? In situations where somebody is testing you or crossing boundaries, how do you react?”

Tafdrup said that an earlier draft of the script had Patrick and Karin acting threatening from the beginning, but felt showing their hand too soon would have made Bjørn and Louise look “stupid” for not immediately running away. “In every situation we wrote, we believed there should be two possibilities all the time: the possibility that they were actually being intimidated, and the possibility it’s a misunderstanding and their own fault.” As someone who is constantly second-guessing my instincts and overanalyzing every social interaction, being trapped in an exchange like “Speak No Evil” would be my absolute kryptonite, and that’s even before realizing the severity of the situation. “It’s like, ‘I’m a guest at their house. Why should they be rude?’ That’s typical of me to think,” said Tafdrup. “We wanted to create that feeling in audiences.”

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