Wednesday, June 07, 2017

Final Girls Berlin ’17: Whisper (short)

What is more frightening, taking responsibility for your life or seeing a ghost? Louise may jolly well have to face both prospects during her detox time in an isolated seaside cottage. Alas, it might be too isolated for her own good in Jo Lewis’s short film Whisper (trailer here), which screens during the 2017 Final Girls Berlin Women in Horror Film Festival (program here).

Louise looks presentable, but she has been battling addiction for years. Sick of herself, she has come to this solitary bungalow to quit cold turkey. She does not think much of the mysterious figure we spy in the distance because she is wrapped up in her own crisis.  Unfortunately, she was characteristically irresponsible in her preparations for her self-sequestering—and that shadowy presence is still out there.

Whisper is not quite eleven minutes, but it has some genuinely frightening moments. Lewis skillfully relies on setting and ambiance to creep out viewers, rather than resorting to cheap tricks. There is a great deal of ambiguity to the film that could well prove divisive with audiences, but it should not detract from a terrific accomplishment in genre mise en scene.

Cinematographer Mike Lloyd really helps establish the film’s eerie elegance, while Imogen Doel gives a fully developed, multi-dimensional performance as Louise. Impressively cinematic and successful by supernatural horror genre standards, Whisper screens this coming Sunday (6/11) as part of Shorts Program 8: Escape, along with Jacqueline Castel’s wickedly cool Puppet Man and Olga Osorio’s mostly clever ReStart, at the Final Girls Berlin Film Festival.