Director: Stewart Hendler | 95 minutes | horror, thriller, fantasy | Actors: Jennifer Shirley, Blake Woodruff, Michael Rooker, Josh Holloway, Sarah Wayne Callies, Julian Christopher, Teryl Rothery, Rod Boss, Trevor Woodruff, Tara Wilson, Brad Sihvon, Joel Edgerton, John Kapelos, Dulé Hill, Claire Riley
The straight-to-video movie ‘Whisper’ opens with a tantalizing opening in which a young woman in the woods is chased by a wolf – reminiscent of the similar beginning of ‘Apocalypto’ – with a surprising outcome just out of the woods got away. It refers to mysterious evil forces, and suggests that everything is still possible in the rest of the story. The enemy is (still) elusive. As in the “Final Destination” movies, Evil here is something abstract and can attack characters in any form. Unfortunately, the course of the film can only partly fulfill this promise, but the attractive, dark atmosphere remains almost unbroken.
It is a pity that a stronger, more fascinating story has not been devised that could have been designed in this atmosphere, within this context, and with the help of the actors used here, because the relatively uninteresting events in the film unfortunately not enough involvement with the viewer is present.
It’s not the actors. There are no great performances, but Josh Holloway, known from the series “Lost”, holds up well and his girlfriend Sarah Wayne Callies does what she can with her limited role. Blake Woodruff is then a fairly creepy (devilish) child, although not every dialogue is equally convincing.
“Whisper” is a horror film cast in the mold of the “Omen” films, with a demonic boy who manipulates and often indirectly kills or tries to kill those around him. The problem is that once this setup is clear, there is little left to hold the viewer’s attention. The plot offers few surprises, the characters hardly get any background, and events are sometimes frustrating or illogical. There are indeed some effective moments of tension in the film, in which usually a wolf is present, but in the end it is not enough to keep the film above water.
As said, the atmosphere is excellent. The film has a thrilling score, a good soundtrack (with fun use of Johnny Cash’s “Ring of Fire”), and beautiful shots of the snowy landscape. Coupled with the competent acting and a few nice moments, this still gives “Whisper” quite some value. However, it is not a memorable film.