One day I scanned upcoming shows using the guide on my DVR, I came across a movie that I hadn’t heard of previously — “Whisper.” The description read: “A kidnapper (Josh Holloway) and his associates that the boy they hold captive is a real devil.” This was enough to get me to record the film, having little to do with the description but rather the name Josh Holloway.
For those who don’t know, Josh Holloway played the charming con man Sawyer on the TV show Lost. I was a fan of Lost, which was one of the few TV shows I absolutely positively HAD to see. Granted, the final episode didn’t live up to what had come before, but it would be hard to live up to everybody’s expectations.
Now, in the interest of full disclosure, I’d seen Josh Holloway in a movie filmed prior to his breakout role as Sawyer, as he starred in a Sci-Fi Channel original named Sabretooth, which falls into the so dreadful it’s fun/bad category. But now Holloway is a household name capable of headlining what I’m presuming was a straight to dvd release. Oh well, one has to start branching out somewhere, so it’s with cautious optimism I checked out Whisper.
Now as far as the movie description that a kidnapped boy is “a real devil” can mean I’m in store for one of two movies, depending on if the boy in question is a literal or figurative devil: 1) A slapstick, family comedy where wacky kidnappers are tormented by a Problem Child who causes mischief and shenanigans, perhaps booby trapping the kidnappers hideout. 2) A scary movie in the style of the Omen (which I know is about a boy who is the anti-Christ, though I’ve never actually seen the Omen or any of its sequels or remakes).
The first image in Whisper is Scripture from II Corinthians 11:14: “And no wonder, for Satan himself masquerades as an angel of light.” It’s at this point, # 1 (slapstick family comedy) isn’t looking good.
The opening scene sees a woman running through a snow-covered forest being pursued by wolves. The woman is hearing strange whispers as she runs in the woods, kind of like on Lost! After the woman meets a less than safe end, we see a picture of the woman and a cute kid named David. David smiles, as if he knows something happened. If you guessed option # 2 (scary, Omen style movie), things are looking good.
Meanwhile, we are introduced to Max (Josh Holloway), a down on his luck ex-con who fails to get a small business loan and tells his girlfriend, Roxanne (Sarah Wayne Callies) he’ll have to take “that job.” Cut to Max in a Santa Claus suit driving a van. Sawyer Claus! Hmm, maybe we’re in for a scary, slapstick, family, horror film? Dennis the Omenace? Fortunately, Max simply uses the Santa outfit as a guise to infiltrate David’s 8th birthday party and kidnap the kid. If the dramatic music and the creepy looks the kid gives is any indication, David is a literal devil not a figurative one. * Phew *
The kid is evil, sure enough. While in the trunk of the kidnapper’s, David just looks at a passing tow truck driver, who hears “whispers,” and then goes American Psycho back at his garage. At this point I’ve completely ruled out wacky, family comedy. Max, Roxanne, and the other two kidnappers (Michael Rooker, Joel Edgerton) hole up in a cabin and we discover they’ve performed a kidnapping on the behest of an unknown third party, “Mr. Jones.” The real identity of Mr. Jones is pretty easy to figure out if you put your mind to it, but I’ll leave it at that.
It doesn’t take long for David and his overall creepiness comes into play. Roxanne tries to play den mother to comfort the kid, but David seems to be enjoying his kidnapping as a sort of game. David knows things about the kidnappers no one else knows, he draws their ominous future on his room/cell, and seems to come and go as he pleases despite being locked up. Wolves are attracted to the cabin, spiders start showing up everywhere. David starts getting into the head of his kidnappers, making them see things and turn on them and so forth.
In all this Max is not entirely dissimilar from Sawyer – they’re both criminals who are decent guys but they don’t want you to know they’re decent. He and Roxanne are trying to protect and make sure no harm comes to him until they eventually figure out that they might need protection from David, roughly an hour after it’s obvious to the audience who are privy to the same facts as our characters.
I kinda sorta liked Whisper. It is entertaining if very predictable. Whisper is rated R but seeing it on TNT it played like a tame, PG-13ish movie along the lines of an M. Night Shyamalan kind of way. Most the alleged scares are those classic, horror movie “boo!” moments where a character turns a corner and there’s something innocuous as a false alarm/“phew” before the genuine scary object follows shortly after.
Josh Holloway is perfectly acceptable as Max, but he’s similar to the character that he made famous, Sawyer, it’s tough to shower him with praise. Blake Woodruff, the young actor who plays David, is actually pretty doggone good. 99% of child actors annoy me, but this kid was all right. I grant you that he is only required to switch gears between being sweet and being creepy, which is the two categories I put all children in.
I’d say Whisper is worth watching on TV, especially if you’re going through Lost withdrawal.
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