Netflix Paranormal Haunting Horror Gives The Conjuring Franchise Run For Its Money

By Robert Scucci | Published

don't listen

Any horror fan will tell you that The Conjuring and Insidious franchises were responsible for bringing back the haunted house plot in a big way in the United States during the 2010s. But if you’re getting tired of Hollywood’s version Ed and Lorraine Warren, you might want to check out Don’t Listen, one of Netflix’s current international offerings that occupies the same spiritual wheelhouse as its stateside contemporaries. Don’t Listen has so much more to offer than cheap jump scares and bumps in the night, and you shouldn’t sleep on this movie if you enjoy being thoroughly spooked by noises that occur just beyond the fringes of the audible spectrum.

Spanish Language Film

don't listen

Don’t Listen is a Spanish-language film, so I’m going to first address the elephant in the room for those of you who don’t like watching movies with subtitles. The English dubs are so well done for this film that I didn’t even realize I was watching an international film until the in-movie title card dropped, revealing its Spanish title (Voces).

In other words, if you want to watch a movie without having to also read, the English voice acting won’t take you out of the film at all.

But if I had to weigh in, I’ll always urge you to watch movies like Don’t Listen in their original language because it’s one less layer of abstraction that you’ll have to deal with.

A Troubled Boy

Language barriers aside, Don’t Listen has so much going for it because of its “less is more” approach to the tried-and-true haunted house story that we’re all by now familiar with.

The story centers on Daniel (Rodolfo Sancho) and Sara (Belén Fabra), who flip houses for a living. Their 8-year-old son, Eric (Lucas Blas), has trouble at school and at home because of how often his family moves around the country due to the nature of their work.

Eric is first depicted as a troubled boy with an overactive imagination in Don’t Listen, but it quickly becomes apparent that he’s being tormented by a demonic presence in the house. Eric primarily communicates to his parents with a Walkie Talkie, but he hears voices through his device that sound like his parents in the middle of the night that makes him question what’s real.

His cryptic and violent drawings reveal what kind of visions he’s actually having, but that comes to an end when he drowns in the backyard pool in the middle of the night after following one of the voices.

Looking For Help

Rightfully devastated, Sarah leaves the house to see her family while Daniel continues with the renovations in Don’t Listen. When Daniel leaves Sara a voicemail, she hears screaming in the background, and Daniel confirms that it’s Eric’s voice when he listens back to the recording. He seeks out help from a famed author and parapsychologist named Germán (Ramón Barea), and his skeptical daughter, Ruth (Ana Fernández).

The Supernatural Revealed

don't listen

Don’t Listen celebrates the same haunting and possession tropes that you’d find in this context, but they never seem phoned in or unnecessary.

Germán sets up all of his equipment, and starts investigating every room of the house to find the source of the presence that claimed Eric’s life. Daniel slowly unravels when it becomes clear that the voices in his house are controlling the narrative.

The reason Don’t Listen is so successful in telling its chilling tale is because there are very little special effects used. Whatever source of torment awaits David, Germán, and Ruth, can only be seen on infrared cameras and heard through specialized audio equipment.

What’s more, it becomes apparent that their decisions are being influenced by a ghostly presence that they’re not fully aware of, which makes their recollection of events dubious at best.

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I was impressed by Don’t Listen’s ability to create tension by forcing the viewer to question each character’s state of mind in a way that never seems disorienting or patronizing. People act out in strange ways while processing grief, and when the supernatural elements are introduced to the storytelling you just know that something terrible is about to happen that’s beyond anybody’s control.

Don’t Listen is a rock-solid film about a paranormal presence that will have you begging for a sequel. If you don’t believe me, then you need to add it to your Netflix queue right now to prove me wrong.