Strange creatures are rumored to have been spotted around the hills in Vermont. Albert Wilmarth, a folklorist, hears about this through letters received from a witness. When he's invited to stay with the witness to experience this first hand, he's not going to say no. He finally arrives at the house and meets the witness, who is now ill and in need of rest. But there's no mistake, despite feeling under the weather, he's filled with excitement and he wants to tell Albert about something magnificent - something that will change his views on the universe.
As you may know, I'm not a big fan of H.P. Lovecraft for one reason - I'm not a reader. I've read about 6-7 of his tales and I do like them, but I have not read enough to want to call myself a fan. Although I love many of the films adapted from his work, especially those by Stuart Gordon even if they're not all too faithful at times. I also enjoyed "The Call of Cthulhu" which was made by H.P. Lovecraft Historical Society, which "The Whisperer in Darkness" also is. It's hard to deny that the style adapted into both films (the style of making them seem like they were made in the same year as the tale was released) is quite impressive in its execution, especially in "The Call of Cthulhu". The difference being that the tales were written in different decades, therefor going with different styles in many aspects.
Okay, what the hell is the original tale about? I have no idea - so fudge all the facts regarding that one. I'm not gonna pretend I know, and I'll make this review 100% about the movie I just watched, whether it's faithful or not. And in this adaption of the story, it's about a strange occurrence in New England. There are people claiming they have seen strange creatures roaming about in the hills nearby. We follow Albert Wilmarth, a professor with folklores being his expertise, as he becomes involved in all of this through exchanging letters with a witness. The witness seems to be living in the middle of these creature's territory, and is seemingly becoming involved with them somehow. As the handwriting in the letters become more and more poor, and the words seem to show a very frightened man, Albert realizes there might actually be something serious going on. But one day he gets a new letter from him, but one that isn't written by hand at all. The letter explains that he is so weak now that he can't write by hand, but that he has came close to the creatures and has found a great discovery among them. Something so big that it will make you think of life as you know it in a different way - and that these invaders are not here to harm, but on a quest. Albert is then invited to visit him to experience this first hand, and as he arrives it seems that maybe things aren't as great as the letters made it seem.
Frankly, it does come off as a nostalgic sci-fi movie, and much of the visual treats are great, but the movie is seriously lacking in several departments. I'll start with the things I did like, though. And that is the production. Acting, cinematography, style/design, atmosphere, the dialogue, it's all really good. At times it looks fucking fantastic, even, and you don't care that it's apparent in these scenes that the film isn't from the 40's, as the style is still very respectful. Although this is ruined by one more thing - the CGI effects on the creatures. It completely throws you out of believing this could have been made then. Not in the same way that the superior cinematography does, but in a bad way that leaves you thinking "really?". It's not much better than the CGI in a SyFy Channel film, to be honest. But I am ready to let that go as well, since I think it would be hard for them to make these aliens any other way (they should've tried, sure..).
What I won't forgive is that the movie ends up leaving you dry. It's a whole lot of talking, discussing, thinking and processing, but it never really reaches the solid climax or meeting with the extra terrestrial that one would hope for. What we get is good, but it's just not enough. It never becomes a truly interesting horror movie, it's just a dialogue-driven sci-fi. Which is fine in some cases, but not in this one. This was a film that seemed to be taking you to a very intense meeting with them, but it never gets there. I don't know if I should call it anti-climactic or just too-little-too-late. Either way, I was left disappointed by this. No matter how involved it managed to get me at times.
"The Whisperer in Darkness" is far from a bad movie, but I was very disappointed by it. I understand that it was made by people who love H.P. Lovecraft, and most likely know everything about him and his tales, but this was not a movie for me. Maybe I should've read the story first, or maybe I should've skipped it altogether. But I gave it a shot, and it wasn't for me. That's not to say you should skip it - it IS good, it IS well-produced, it IS interesting, and at times you'll even feel like you're watching a 40's sci-fi. It was just not very entertaining. And that's what I was getting ready for.
Am I allowed to give this a rather negative review? We'll see...