Firstly, I’d just like to say thank you to Round Table Pictures and Writer/Director, Jennifer Nicole Stang for allowing me early access to an online screener of her 10-minute Horror/Thriller short, “The Whistler”. The Whistler is a folklore short horror tale that sees teenager Lindsey (played by the beautiful Karis Cameron) forced to babysit her sister Becky (Baya Ipatowicz). Shortly after storytime, Lindsey falls asleep to a TV movie and wakes to find her little sister missing. A venture into the woods reveals a far more sinister danger than she could have imagined.
I’m always intrigued in a premise with an origin to unveil, and Stang’s latest venture has just that. Believe it or not, The Whistler is Jennifer’s eighteenth short film in just six years. With multiple credits in just about every aspect of filmmaking, she’s clearly a talented and versatile individual. Though it’s experienced DP, Naim Sutherland (Feed The Gods) behind the presentation here, and a majority of the shot choices are creative and nicely framed. The audio track is clean and the piano theme that supports Lindsey’s folklore story fits the desired atmosphere perfectly. Karis and Baya are quite well cast as sisters and both turn in serviceable performances.
There’s a particular method using blue filtering which lights the bulk of these scenes but results in a tinged look that I found rather distracting. A series of jump cuts in the middle section also only serves to highlight some of Sutherland’s average handheld techniques. Whilst there are a couple of tension-filled moments, The Whistler ends on an unusually flat note. It’s an entertaining enough short but I’m hoping that Stang harnesses her full potential regarding the titular character because I have no doubt that it could become something quite iconic if given the proper attention. Despite the need for some improved visuals and further fleshing out of the core character, The Whistler serves as a nice proof of concept for the feature that Jennifer is trying to get off the ground. You can check out the teaser trailer below and keep an eye out for this one soon!
My rating for “The Whistler” is 6/10