'Whispers' is the latest horror offering from writer/director Tammi Sutton, which makes its debut on DVD and in select theatres on 21 March. We went into this with high hopes confident that writer/director Sutton would expertly bring us some thrills and chills. Sutton herself has already shown her talents in numerous horror and thriller-related projects to date working both behind the camera as well as screenwriting, producing and even working in the art department. She has been specialising in low budget horrors aimed at the ever-constant market of direct-to-video consumers and has gained a lot of attention as well as successes during her career so far.
'Whispers' is her latest ghostly tale based around a young couple who move out to the English countryside to try and move on from the recent death of their daughter. Unfortunately their new home is haunted by a lot more than the memories of their tragic loss. It's a premise that probably sounds quite familiar and that's because it is, at least in the horror genre. It seems that when you do suffer from personal loss, the English countryside appears to be the place to go.
It's a feature that is surprisingly engaging, which seems mostly due to its obvious budgetary drawbacks. And it's these restrictions that actually seems to have made the storyline and the on-screen action more tense and taut.
The movie stars former English glamour model Keeley Hazell, who plays Catherine, an emotionally stilted wife who is forced to live with her own tragic memories from her childhood and now once more has to deal with the emotional scars relating to the death of her daughter Lily. This loss has put tremendous tension between her and her husband Harvey, played by Craig Rees, and together it's their past that continues to haunt them Hazell manages to firmly prove that she can carry a movie like this professionally and competently and both her and on screen husband Rees have managed to create a firmly believable on-screen relationship fraught with emotion and obvious history. Whilst this couple continue to face everyday anguish they are joined by Sasha and Simon (played by Hostel' hottie Barbara Nedeljakova and Phil Bloomberg respectively), an unusual couple who join them for the weekend.
We are always forgiving for movies that do have tighter budgetary restrictions because more often than not they are forced to work with what they have as opposed to having the luxury and freedom of an endless stream of cash behind them. 'Whispers' does have some noticeable technical imperfections, particularly relating to certain sound and lighting. However some of the camerawork and exterior shots are superb and go well to making up for any other weaknesses. It's this quality cinematography that actually manages to give the whole experience a darker, moodier and more suspenseful edge.
Shot in the beautiful surroundings of Devon, British horror 'Whispers' manages to engage and hold the interest of the viewer whilst not pandering too much to tired reworked clichés. There are of course a certain amount of familiar horror tropes here but it's a movie peppered with unexpected happenings and an ending that you wouldn't necessarily see coming. Everyone appears to be on top form here and seem wholly believable in their given roles, and fans will be pleased to hear that there appears to already be a sequel in the pipeline with Sutton once again at the helm.
'Whispers' arrives on DVD and in select theatres from 21 March.