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It’s a shame that “Hear No Evil” didn’t have a better story to accompany its very strong cast and some compelling character depth.

Hear No Evil

A deaf woman unknowingly ends up with a stolen coin and finds herself in the middle of police corruption and murder. Let’s dig into 1993’s HEAR NO EVIL, directed by Robert Greenwald!

As I See It

There is no attempt to make Marlee Matlin’s dialogue as clear as possible, no post-production voice-over work, no subtitles — nothing. That really lends to the real-life communication difficulties that deaf people face on a day-to-day basis with someone who does not know ASL. It also adds a depth to the movie that can not be faked. Jillian’s lip-reading ability inevitably helps set up the finale.

D.B. Sweeney and Marlee Matlin share some good chemistry, and it’s easy to see why he earned some starring roles in the nineties. He’s a handsome guy with a good screen presence and some acting chops that straddle drama and comedy with a side of pity.

Matlin is cast as the helpless victim and looks stronger than her character was written. That’s a testament to her intrinsic demeanor.

Unfortunately, the story is bland. It is a hollow tale of police corruption and a stolen coin—a single stolen coin. The coin is critical to the plot yet meaningless. There is no attempt at a robust storyline.

Hear No Evil becomes a standard-issue pseudo-slasher with a twist ending. It is good enough for a TV thriller but not much else.

Famous Faces

Marlee Matlin (Jillian) is, in fact, deaf. Casting her in the role of a deaf character is sure to please the fiction purist police, even retroactively. The same “group” that admonished Carey Mulligan for stealing a role from an “age-appropriate” actor in Netflix’s The Dig — the tale of the Sutton Hoo treasure. I digress. Her resume is very mainstream (including The West Wing alongside co-star Martin Sheen), and she solidified her spot in the pop culture zeitgeist as a contestant on Dancing with the Stars and by being a genuinely endearing human.

Martin Sheen (Lt. Brock) hardly needs an introduction. Captain Willard (Apocalypse Now) fathered equally famous actors Charlie Sheen and Emilio Estevez and has been in quality cinema and television for over fifty years.

D.B. Sweeney (Ben) had his first role in a made-for-TV movie about the “Son of Sam” killer, David Berkowitz, which ironically starred Martin Sheen. He played the infamous Travis Walton in the alien abduction biopic Fire in the Sky and a hockey player turned Olympic figure skater in The Cutting Edge (“Toepick!”).

John C. McGinley (Mickey), for my money, is one of the most palpable personalities in the acting trade. He has been since he stepped in front of the camera — from his role as Sgt. O’Neill in Oliver Stone’s Platoon to his scene-stealing gig as Dr. Perry Cox in the E.R. comedy Scrubs alongside Zach Braff and Donald Faison. He’s both charming and biting simultaneously.

Of Gratuitous Nature

Of course, there has to be a bathtub scene. Writers have a tough time creating alternate scenarios that convey a sense of vulnerability. At the very least, I can commend how much more heightened the tension is by cutting out all foley to give some level of resonance or relation with Marlee Matlin and her character.

Heartthrob

An extinct (perhaps outside of everywhere but the medical field) technology plays a pivotal role in the plot: a pager! Not only did I have one, but I somehow remember my closest friends’ pager numbers and even the codes we used to communicate numerically before cell phones and texting.

Ripe for a Remake

Taking a disability and not only shining light on some realistic elements of life with an impairment but turning it into a strength within the story is a noble exercise and worth the money, in my opinion. Couple that with an intriguing story, and you’ve got yourself a good horror film. That is what horror is all about anyway: portraying reality no matter how difficult the circumstances and highlighting humanity in stark contrast to the darkness.

Spawns

No progeny to report.

Where to Watch

This will be a DVD bargain bin diving adventure for those interested. There has been no high-definition physical release, and it’s not available to stream in the United States or Canada. The last release was a 2012 Anchor Bay DVD or the 2004 20th Century Fox DVD that I somehow found. It’s also on Prime and Apple TV over in the UK. So, if you’re located outside the UK and have a good VPN, you can check this one — just in case your curiosity is strong.

Overall Rating (Out of 5 Butterflies): 2


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