The Whispering Man is like a mash-up of The Ring and Paranormal Activity, as made by Tomik and Bellgarde, the “foreign guys” from Family Guy. Sporadically creepy but more often loquacious and uneventful, The Whispering Man attempts to introduce a new horror mythology, but only winds up drawing comparisons to better genre efforts.
The Whispering Man was primarily a Hungarian production, so it being in English is a blatant attempt to maximize its commercial prospects. The character’s knowledge of English is nominally explained by giving the protagonist a British father. Nevertheless, the use of English in The Whispering Man is glaringly choppy and distracts from what could have been a smoother, but not necessarily better, 74 minutes if the film had just stuck to its native language.
“…a mysterious painting known as The Whispering Man…brings misfortune and death to all who gaze upon it.”
In one of many static medium shots of people talking (the least cinematic of visual choices), Mark (Dávid Fecske), introduces his YouTube show, Chasing Fear, which focuses on all aspects of the paranormal. In this episode, he explains how his family came into possession of a mysterious (and dull) painting known as The Whispering Man. Naturally, the piece of art brings misfortune and death to all who gaze upon it. However, Mark’s grandmother was wise to the evil lurking inside the painting and hid it away in her attic. Upon her death, Mark and his brother, Tommy (András Korcsmáros), inherit the unenviable task of clearing out her house. Mark spies an opportunity to retrieve the supposedly haunted picture so he can satisfy his morbid curiosity.
It turns out that’s a bad idea. No sooner has Mark brought the painting home than strange things begin to happen. The radio turns on by itself, a mysterious blackout affects only the room where Mark and his friend Abel (Dávid Kiss) are chatting about the painting, etc. Eventually, Mark sets up a video camera to record overnight to catch some paranormal activity in action.
The longer Mark spends with the sinister painting, the more he feels it is calling to him. The anticipated arrival of his girlfriend, Dora (Ágota Dunai), coupled with Tommy’s increasing frustration with his brother, doesn’t do much to quell Mark’s growing instability. Will Mark uncover the mystery of The Whispering Man before it’s too late?
"…a smoother, but not necessarily better, 74 minutes if the film had just stuck to its native language."