[first title card]
I, another nightmare to fill my dreams/And when I awake/pale face and gentled eyes/The voices in my head/bury themselves deep/somewhere inside my mind/And when I wake/the voices inside my head/be only my tortuous thoughts/Until I find no peace/And dream of endless sleep...
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"The Whispering" is a low-budget horror film that happens to have a very thoughtful psychological premise. Spare on gore and special effects, "The Whispering" is not a typical horror film. I could be wrong, but it seems to me that this film tries to convey specific psychological insights, using the horror genre as a vehicle. For this reason, the typical fan of horror films will probably acquire a case of "psychic indigestion"; expectations of blood, boobs and violent boogey-men, will collide with a nuanced offering of psycho-spiritual mechanics.
The "menace" in the film is a demonic woman who taunts people toward self-destruction. She works her way into peoples' minds by preying on their psychological vulnerabilities. Vulnerabilities born from traumatic experiences with life. The subsequent feelings of self-doubt and low self-worth, render them vulnerable to "mental" phantoms, whose suggestions pave a path toward self-destruction if allowed.
Watching this film, I thought of the many youths today who harm themselves at the urging of inner "whisperings" which prey on their damaged sense of self-worth. An over-burdened and damaged psyche can be more threatening than any external monster, and this film points in that direction. It explains why the guileful female spirit never seems particularly threatening in itself. Her power comes from the weakness of the unenlightened mind. A solvable if confounding problem.
Peformances are effective overall. One scene in which Leif Garrett's character is analized under hypnosis is quite good. I wish there was more to Leslie Danon's role as Garrett's girlfriend. She is an attractive and engaging actress. Playing a once troubled woman who is getting her act together, she inhabits the film as an enigma we would like to know more about. Alas Garrett's character gets all the juice.
I wouldn't want to leave anyone with the impression that this is a "heavy" film. It does assume a sense of meaning, but stays down-to- earth at the same time. There are no pretentions on the part of the filmakers. The charming and funny credits that make fun of this films low budget status leave no doubt about that.
I think this film is worth watching. Even though it was made by young people without resources, they really tried to make a film that is fun and has a little meaning. Don't measure this against the "Exorcist", or "Rosemary's Baby", and you can find things to really admire about this effort.
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