Director: Jo Lewis
Writer: Stewart Pringle
Starring: Imogen Doel
Website – http://www.breakneckfilms.com
Synopsis: A young women heads to see a seaside cabin in an attempt to end her crippling addiction.
Whisper opens with an unknown girl (Imogen Doel) floating in the sea and then up a rough old path in the sunny country side, is she on holiday or a short weekend break? We are left speculating. Then I remember this is a horror drama and I’m immediately thrown into suspense. I made sure not to read up on this beautiful short prior to screening, so I had no idea what to expect, which is a feeling you don’t often experience with horror these days.
Heroin addiction is quite heavy subject matter and is certainly not made light of here, the sickness, confusion, the lines between reality and hallucinations are all blurred due to withdrawal. Whisper is quite like as if Trainspotting (1996) and Requiem for a Dream (2000) had a 12min baby. Very tastefully done we are left unnerved and dumbfounded; an outside-looking-in view of heroin addiction.
Whisper is visually an absolute marvel. Jo Lewis’ vision behind the camera is fantastic; each shot not focused on Louise; a picturesque cinemagraph bursting with colour. The internal cabin is cold and nauseating due to low light and close angles. The transition from day to night also mirroring Louise’s worsening condition. Imogen Doel is well cast and acted well, good to see the Irish represented in cinema (Disclaimer: Irish myself 😉 ).
Overall a beautiful, artistic and blood chilling account of addiction in the middle class. However, the ambiguous nature of the climax may leave some viewers unsatisfied, I found myself in this bracket. Had there been more clarity in the writing, it would have addressed addiction more than just making it a gorgeous looking piece of cinema.
Verdict: Style and Substance Abuse.