Despite the usual shortcomings built into a low-budget presentation, THE WHISPERING is suprising because of its reasonably sober approach. Mercifully, it's not a gory spectacle awash in blood, rudely interrupted by sexual couplings, and loaded with special effects. If only the screenplay's
liabilities didn't leave so much room for improvement.
A community is plagued by a series of suspicious suicides. Bounced off the police force, rebellious insurance claims agent Peter Ransket (Leif Garrett) defies superiors by probing the mysterious Lansing case instead of closing inquiries quickly and profitably for his firm. Drawn to the dead man's
ex-girlfriend, Lisa (Leslie Danon), Peter witnesses Lansing's fate firsthand when he can't prevent the shooting of his own pal, Mike (Carroll Oden), at an outdoor Christmas tree lot. There, a supernatural figure (Mette Holt) whispers to the wounded Mike to surrender his soul to her.
Spooked by this spectral visitation, Peter seeks the counsel of a theological shrink, Jake Myers (Tom Patton), while pushing aside guilt feelings about his younger sister's childhood suicide. Under hypnosis, Peter relives a previous life as a Mr. Hank Petrie, a man who mentions being softly
persuaded into relinquishing his life in 1944. After Peter's ex-lover ends her life because of his involvement with Lisa, Peter becomes more sensitive to the Whisperer's presence but barely saves an inebriated Lisa from vehicular homicide. Jake, Peter, and Lisa perform a New Age exorcism as
poltergeists scurry about, and Jake's house is nearly blown apart due to a detached gas hose.
Smack dab against the soul-sucking Angel of Death who preys on the most psychologically vulnerable, Peter and Lisa jointly disengage the powerful Spirit's grip on them. Sending the Whisperer to from whence it came, they succeed where weaker souls have failed because they confronted their fears
directly and, unlike their loved ones, didn't succumb to the soothing siren call of this creature.
Rather than capitalize on a nifty rewiring of the basic tenets of vampirism, THE WHISPERING stretches its narrative into increasingly far-fetched flights of fancy. Unfortunately, the film doesn't concentrate on the seductive intelligence of the monster, who has a powerful arsenal of psychological
weapons at her disposal. Instead, she is depicted as being devoid of any individualized evil. The film also regrettably doesn't personalize any of her victims, except for Peter. Further trouble lies with the movie's poor expository skill; it wastes screen time dispensing facts that have already
been noted. Shouldn't Peter and Lisa be racing against time to save a series of lost souls, while still dealing with their own susceptibility?
Instead of developing meaty possibilities for dramatic terror, THE WHISPERING sidesteps psychology and winds up a haunted house sideshow flick. One feels as if the cleverest writing student in class had been forced to turn over an assignment to a drop-out, who raced to finish it before being
booted out of school. What might have been a fresh glimpse into creative soul-snatching ends up instead a power-of-positive-thinking saga about getting quickly out of the path of ambulatory furniture. (Violence, extreme profanity, extensive nudity, sexual situations, substance abuse.)
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- Released: 1996
- Rating: R
- Review: Despite the usual shortcomings built into a low-budget presentation, THE WHISPERING is suprising because of its reasonably sober approach. Mercifully, it's not a gory spectacle awash in blood, rudely interrupted by sexual couplings, and loaded with special… (more)