Dark Whispers Vol 1…
Directors: Angie Black (Birthday Girl), Jub Clerc (Storytime), Lucy Gouldthorpe (Grillz), Katrina Irawati Graham (White Song), Janine Hewitt (The Intruder), Briony Kidd (Watch Me), Isabel Peppard (Gloomy Valentine), Marion Pilowsky (The Ride), Madeleine Purdy (Little Sharehouse of Horrors), Megan Riakos (The Book of Dark Whispers), Kaitlin Tinker (The Man Who Caught a Mermaid)
Writers: Warwick Burton (Gloomy Valentine), Sylvia Clarke (Storytime), Claire D’Este (Watch Me and Grillz), Katrina Irawati Graham (White Song), Michael Harden (Birthday Girl), Janine Hewitt (The Intruder), Jean-Philippe Lopez (The Man Who Caught a Mermaid), Isabel Peppard (Gloomy Valentine), Joel Perlgut (Little Sharehouse of Horrors), Madeleine Purdy (Little Sharehouse of Horrors), Marion Pilowsky (The Ride), Madeleine Purdy (Little Sharehouse of Horrors), Megan Riakos (The Book of Dark Whispers), Kaitlin Tinker (The Man Who Caught a Mermaid)
Stars: Andrea Demetriades, Bree Desborough, Tosh Greenslade, Asher Keddie, Anthony La Paglia
Playing at the Final Girls Berlin Film Festival, Dark Whispers Volume 1 is an all female directed anthology and for a ten story strong anthology it has quality across the board.
The stories whilst varied are all good with some stories veering toward great. The overarching story is The Book of Dark Whispers which involves Clara coming home after her mothers passing but her mother has left her a book but it comes with a warning that it has to be read all the way through. The stories in the book are the what you will see and after each story Clara begins to notice certain things happening around her…
The tales are as follows –
Birthday Girl – A woman catches an elevator, only problem is that her dead daughter haunts her on every level.
The Man Who Caught A Mermaid – Ruminates on a mans dark fantasy, a man catches what he thinks is a mermaid, it ends in a way that is horrifying and beyond sad.
Gloomy Valentine – With a Burton esque nightmare before christmas ascetic and a Coraline atmosphere. About a lonely girl that has lost the love of her life, its as melancholy as anything you’ve seen, with a fantastic score.
Watch Me – Celebrity, secrets and weird behaviour abound but when the spotlight fades what happens then.
Story Time – The Mangrove woman steals kids and makes them drink her milk. An Indigenous campfire story, that could be an allegory for many issues faced by the Australian indigenous or it could just be a riff on that time worn folk tale that tells you (or someone) to watch the children!
The Ride – A hitch hiker quickly regrets his decision to accept the ride. Racism, gaslighting and murder are on the agenda with a twisted ending.
White Song – A short about loss, emptiness, sorrow and those memories and what that summons. A ghosts lament.
Grillz – A vampire is only as good as its teeth. A dark sense humour.
Little Share House Of Horrors – When you try a green smoothie for the first time you don’t expect it to kill you…
The Intruder – A story that starts out as a rudimentary stalk n slash short but it then turns into something unexpected that lays heavy on you.
As evidenced above, the stories are all different and bring a new feel to each little section. Despite there being some humour sprinkled throughout the stories, overall is relentlessly grim and I’m all for it, for an anthology film to have this feeling permeate through all the shorts, it is quite an achievement. The editing across the entirety of the film is great, adding another level to the quality of the film. All the directors, writers and actors (too numerous to mention) have something good here, a quality film on a budget and one that doesn’t dumb itself down and one that is more than willing to venture into different sub-genres. Dark Whispers doesn’t really have any gore but it isn’t that kind of film but it is certainly worth searching for once it finishes its festival run.
Played as part of the Berlin Final Girl Film Festival
Ryan Morrissey-Smith | Twitter: @TigersMS78
Image: Final Girls Berlin Film Festival