WHISPERS IN THE DARK
Review by Gordon Justesen
Annabella Sciorra, Jamey Sheridan, Anthony Lapaglia, Jill Clayburgh, John
Leguizamo, Deborah Unger, Alan Alda
Director: Christopher Crowe
Audio: Dolby Digital 5.1, Dolby Surround
Video: Anamorphic Widescreen 1.85:1
Features: See Review
Length: 101 Minutes
Release Date: September 7, 2004
The erotic thriller
genre had been hotter than ever in 1992. A film by the name of Basic
Instinct had definitely fueled the very type of movie where sex and violence
went hand in hand. All of a sudden,
it seemed as if we were getting a new similarly themed movie almost every week.
One such movie was Whispers in the Dark.
But where as Basic
Instinct was a thriller that knew no boundaries and had the ability to jolt,
Whispers in the Dark seems to be
simply going through the motions. There are points when the movie seems to start
going in the right direction, only to never reach it, and moments when you feel
like you've seen a TV movie with more ambition. In addition, there are pivotal
moments of sheer lunacy, and by that I mean plot moments that are downright
The plot involves
New York psychologist Dr. Ann Hecker (Annabella Sciorra) who is professional but
deeply troubled. She frequently has bizarre erotic dreams as a result of
listening to the sexual confessions of Eve (Deborah Unger), a patient of hers.
Upon hearing Eve's sultry tales, Ann doesn't know whether to give her
consultation or to add some spice to her boring life.
When Ann has a
chance meeting with fellow office worker Doug (Jamey Sheridan), she decides to
take full advantage of it. Despite the reservations of her long time mentor, Dr.
Leo Green (Alan Alda), Ann proceeds with seeing Doug. The sparks fly, and Ann
soon comes to find the very thing that was missing from her life.
But then a shocking
discovery develops, as Ann comes to realize that Eve's lover discussed in her
tales is the new man in her life. Eve has a public burst of rage upon seeing the
two of them talking in an office lobby. Before long, the whole situation takes a
horrendous turn when Eve's body is found dead in her apartment in a most
What follows is a
murder investigation, conducted very questionably by Det. Morgenstern (Anthony
LaPaglia). Two suspects turn out to be, SURPRISE, two men connected to Ann.
There's Doug, the ex-lover, and John Castillo (John Leguizamo), a fellow patient
of Ann's who appears to be deeply disturbed, and not sexually.
It all leads to
mind-numbingly dismal climax of events, resulting in a standoff that belongs
somewhere in Friday the 13th as
opposed to a simple thriller. I won't reveal who the identity of the killer is,
but I will say that the enormous level of overacting displayed by the actor in
questioned is something that will not be remembered should this actor have an
upcoming AFI tribute.
in the Dark has the
appropriate ingredients for a spicy thriller, but doesn't blend them in
correctly to make a perfect meal. It has potential in many areas, but fails to
achieve them about half way through the movie. To sum it up properly, it's all
set up and no follow through.
transfer, courtesy of Paramount, has its weak points and strong points,
resulting in a mixed presentation. For the most part, the image work is nice
enough, especially in brighter tones. When the scenes go dark, the results
aren't as hot. Slight softness finds its way into these portions of the movie. A
bit softness is displayed as well, though nothing too harsh.
The 5.1 mix does
benefit this movie a great deal, being that it's a suspense thriller. Areas
regarding the music score by Thomas Newman, numerous suspense sequences, and
dialogue delivery each get their proper share of audio power in this overall
impressive sound performance.