24th Jun2020

‘The Whispering Man’ Review

by Chris Thomas

Stars: Dávid Fecske, András Korcsmáros, Ágota Dunai, Dávid Kiss, Rob Oldfield, Marcsi Nagy, György Boldog | Written by Bálint Szántó | Directed by József Gallai

Spooky goings on in Hungary. Prompted by silly looking painting… Also, it is not spooky… The Whispering Man kicks off with an exceedingly long point of view (POV) monologue with our protagonist making a vlog “chasing fear”, explaining the spooky family mystery involving a painting he is looking to explore and explain. Thereby the film sets out its stall early, this a POV spook house flick!

One of the key problems is, at no point do we really get to know our character, or warm to him in any way. It has a lot of exposition that has little value. If you compare it to something like The Raid where we have about 10 seconds of getting to know our protagonist at the very beginning of the film, given with absolutely no talking,  were we learn everything we need to about our protagonist and we very much warm to them. Not the case with The Whispering Man.

It does not help that I am completely sick of the gimmick of POV (or found footage) style films. The acting is not the best, with mistakes included in the film. It cannot be helped that English is not the first language of the cast – even though we are told that the protagonist is half English – but given the language mistakes it seemed unlikely. My goodness, we spend a lot of time with our protagonist explaining to his mate the dull family legend of the painting, a LOT of time.

I could see the appeal of making a POV horror. It is easy to do on a low budget but few of these films can be classified as “successful”. The Blair Witch Project must be declared a success, despite my dislike of it. The Spanish horror film [REC] was fantastic. Here the POV style is a crutch, a simple way of framing and plotting the film without spending any money.

There can be a vast amount of different mitigating factors as to why a low budget horror film doesn’t work. Sometimes it stems from filmmakers overreaching themselves, having a large cast or trying to go for special effects they can’t pull off; and sometimes not mitigating for their limitations with skill or experience in film making. Sadly, The Whispering Man has few excuses for being so dull or witless. The cast is extremely small, whilst the POV approach adds nothing but gives a negative experience in return. A lot of the film is a camera sitting in the tripod and filming from a static position. There is also no sound design of any kind. This is film making at its barest of bare bones. That could be a good thing, we’ve seen films do this and it gives the finished product a feel of “realness” but that is not the case here. The Whispering Man is, ultimately, all very predictable and forgettable and I am not entirely sure if the ending made sense.

This is a couple of friends, making a film, which is fine, I hope they had fun doing it, but I cannot recommend The Whispering Man to the general public – this is for those that want and need to see EVERY horror film there is. I found it hard to finish the film, and it is only an hour and ten minutes long! It isn’t terrible but then it has nothing of interest either; and to be boring is the biggest sin of a horror film… or any film for that matter.

The Whispering Man is available to rent or buy on-demand now. The film comes to DVD on June 30th, courtesy of Wild Eye Releasing.


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