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cast: Josh Holloway, Sarah Wayne Callies, Blake Woodruff, John Kapelos, and Teryl Rothery

director: Stewart Hendler

91 minutes (15) 2007
widescreen ratio 16:9
EIV DVD Region 2 retail

RATING: 6/10
reviewed by James A. Stewart
Marmite and Bovril; two products that often have a love/ hate relationship with consumers - there are some who love to hate them - and others who simply love them. Horror films can be much the same. Audiences watch through their fingers as they await the next spine-tingling scare. The pinnacle of such films is The Shining. The Stephen King written, Kubrick directed masterpiece, is the epitome of horror filmmaking. Perhaps that is why Whisper steals so much of its inspiration from it.

From the outset it is clear that there is a not so subtle homage to The Shining, and let's be honest, there are worse films from which to take inspiration. This is what makes the end product of Whisper so infuriatingly disappointing. Josh Holloway, he of Lost fame, makes his leading man in a feature film debut here. He plays Max, the leader of a gang of kidnappers who abduct the son a wealthy socialite. The motive is, of course, money. However, in David, the abducted ten-year-old, they get more than they bargained for, as the prisoner possesses an uncanny ability to tap into the minds of people, and wolves, too, for that matter. As David's abilities and motives become clear there is then a second homage being played out, this time to The Omen. Again, not a bad film from which to take inspiration but the predictability and lack of originality do start to become tiresome.

Notwithstanding, the cast, made up from regulars on TV shows such as the aforementioned Lost, Prison Break (Sarah Wayne Calles, who plays Dr Sara Tancredi) and Stargate: SG1 (Teryl Rothery, who plays Dr Janet Frasier), do a fine job of building and maintaining an air of suspense and credibility. Director Stewart Hendler also plays his hand in an understated manner and thankfully avoids the use of a 'scary score' throughout - clearly mindful of the films obvious influences.

The main umbrage with Whisper is borne out of the fact that is difficult to get that bothered about a team of kidnappers being tormented by the demonic doings of a Damien wannabe. They kidnapped him and, as my mum used to say, 'Hell mend them'. Which is pretty much what the film sets about doing, but when the viewer is not really that concerned about who dies in the end, the suspense is gone. Whisper is a decent fist at a horror film and not too ignominious start to Josh Holloway's career as a leading man. He will make better films though. There will be undoubted interest in this offering purely for the cast and rightly so. Giving its obvious homage to two classic horrors it strikes me that this film should perhaps have called 'The Whisper?'

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