blogging by Andrew Wickliffe

The Whisperer in Darkness (2011, Sean Branney)

A scene from THE WHISPERER IN DARKNESS, directed by Sean Branney.

Given the filmmakers are members of an organization dedicated to H.P. Lovecraft stuff, I’m going to assume the plot problems with The Whisperer in Darkness are from the source material. As in, the stupid stuff is in the original and they just left it in. Maybe they thought it was good, maybe they thought it was bad, regardless, Whisperer is pretty dumb.

Worse, it’s a mess as a film. It’s in black and white, but it’s shot on DV and DV is unforgiving. Why have CG monsters and electrical effects if you’ve got paper macho sets? It creates a disjointed visual experience and it is often jarring.

Speaking of jarring, it’s also disconcerting when director Branney doesn’t use a low angle shot or pan. He loves low angle shots and he loves panning. Whisperer‘s direction is tiresome.

Maybe if the film had been made as a comedy, it might’ve worked. But it’s serious and, sadly, it’s not even good at being serious. The silly visualization of disembodied heads, apparently in an attempt to fit in a forties style (along with the black and white), don’t match with the surprisingly good CG aliens.

Lead Matt Foyer is quite good. He wouldn’t have been able to sell it as a gag. Matt Lagan is also good. Actually, none of the performances are bad.

Also, Vermont hicks aren’t a scary villain group. It’s not Deliverance country… it’s Ben & Jerry’s country.

While interesting in its failures, Whisperer is a complete waste of time.



Directed by Sean Branney; screenplay by Andrew Leman and Branney, based on the story by H.P. Lovecraft; director of photography, David Robertson; edited and produced by Robertson; music by Troy Sterling Nies; production designer, Leman.

Starring Matt Foyer (Albert Wilmarth), Matt Lagan (Nathaniel Ward), Daniel Kaemon (P.F. Noyes), Stephen Blackehart (Charlie Tower), Autumn Wendel (Hannah Masterson), Caspar Marsh (Will Masterson), Barry Lynch (Henry Akeley), Joe Sofranko (George Akeley) and Andrew Leman (Charles Fort).


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