The Whispering Man is all inspiration. The film barely displays any ingenuity except for seeking to appeal to today’s internet-savvy millennial with the YouTube channel angle. Clearly, the Paranormal Activity franchise, as well as the found footage subgenre broadly speaking, has had a profound effect on writer Bálint Szántó and director József Gallai. Not accounting for one genuinely scary sequence set in an abandoned insane asylum (creepy movie gold!) and a decent-if-predictable ending, The Whispering Man is all talk, no action.
The scene set in the abandoned asylum showcases what potential The Whispering Man might have had if it had simply committed to a first-person-perspective for the entire film and jettisoned the brother, friend, and girlfriend characters. This scene, while not entirely innovative, is so good and shows real filmmaking style. Plus, the acting from Fecske in that moment is terrific and effectively jumpy. Abandoned asylums are consistently rife with spooky stuff lurking in the shadows, so a scary ambiance is almost always guaranteed. Once the movie returns to the house, it’s more talking, which amounts to a severe buzz kill.
“…all talk, no action.”
Furthermore, Gallai seems to have some trouble with the consistency of the video camera footage mechanism. Camera angles change without any prior indication that the camera has moved, notably in Mark’s bedroom, and during a key sequence towards the end of the film as Tommy tries to bust into Mark’s room.
If the filmmakers could have figured out a way to tell their story in one location, i.e., the abandoned asylum, The Whispering Man could have been one enormously eerie little creeper. As it is, you’re better off renting Paranormal Activity.
"…a smoother, but not necessarily better, 74 minutes if the film had just stuck to its native language."