Certain areas of life are made a whole lot easier by low expectations. It’s like that old joke about pessimists often being pleasantly surprised. When you don’t expect much from a movie, it can please you simply by not being awful.
A case in point is Whisper, which tells of a kidnapping that goes wrong in an unexpected way. The crooks are ringleader Sidney (Michael Rooker in an all-too-brief appearance), annoying whiner Vince (Joel Edgerton), decent-guy-who-just-wants-to-open-a-diner-and-go-straight Max (Josh Holloway), and Max’s wife Roxanne (Sarah Wayne Callies). Their plan is to kidnap David (Blake Woodruff), the only child of a very wealthy family and make the ransom their proverbial last big score.
The kidnapping goes without a hitch, but the kidnappers soon discover that David isn’t an ordinary kid. He’s literally a hellion who can command wolves, cause unfortunate “accidents” to happen to people, and can put thoughts in peoples’ heads and turn them against each other. Throw in an isolated winter setting, medical complications, and some long-buried secrets – hijinks ensue.
Whisper is basically a mashup of The Omen and The Ransom of Red Chief, and for what it is, it’s fairly entertaining. The death scenes are mostly bloodless but well-executed (particularly the scene on the frozen lake) with some red herrings thrown in. The adult actors acquit themselves well, though Rooker isn’t in the movie nearly enough for my taste. The snowbound isolation of the kidnappers’ hideout sets the mood nicely.
As David, Woodruff isn’t bad but he’s so obviously a Cliché’d Creepy Kid from the start that you wonder why the other characters don’t get spooked and abandon the kidnapping plan right away. More subtlety and mystery about David’s true nature would have been nice, and made for a more suspenseful film. But it’s clear from the start what is going to happen, and the only suspense is figuring out how it’s going to happen. Fortunately the plot plays out in ways that are just unexpected enough to keep things interesting.
Aside from a somewhat bogus ending that screams of studio/test audience interference, Whisper is a reasonably entertaining movie that’s ideal for when you don’t feel like using your brain very much.
Extras are decent – extended and deleted scenes, an alternate ending, and a making-of feature.