The Whistler is written and directed by Jennifer Nicole Stang and is an incredibly successful horror short which effectively captures the audience’s attention within it’s short running time. Stang quickly introduces accessible characters, a well-paced plot, builds up suspense and even has time to squeeze in a few scares, all within 12 minutes.
At first, The Whistler starts as a typical babysitter-gone-wrong story but quickly diverts itself from classic slasher to subversive Brothers Grimm. Lindsey (Karis Cameron) would rather make-out with her boyfriend but instead, she’s stuck in American suburbia looking after her little sister Becky (Baya Ipatowicz). The sisters are in the home alone, eating popcorn watching you guessed it— an old horror B-movie (The Terror). Becky asks her sister to read her a bedtime story and after a few pages into The Whistler, Lindsey diverts from the original plot. According to her, over 300 years ago, in the sister’s hometown, a strange man lured away 130 virgins to their death and vowed to return for revenge as he was sentenced to death by the townspeople.
Without saying too much, the film really holds itself up to its countless accolades (the project to this date has won 15 awards). The atmosphere is thick and hazy, reminiscent of a lucid night terror and is complimented with a sinister score. Although we only catch a blood-curdling glimpse of The Whistler, I hope this will not be the last we see of this twisted fairy tale.
The Whistler is available to stream on Shudder
by Casci Ritchie
Casci Ritchie (she/her) is an independent dress historian specialising in fashion, film and consumer cultures. Her true great loves – film and fashion – began when she watched her first film noir, The Big Sleep, as a teenager and fell in love Bacall and Bogie hook line and sinker. Some of her favourite films include Whatever Happened to Baby Jane, Beetlejuice, Double Indemnity and Cry Baby. You can find her over on Twitter at @CasciTRitchie & her blog www.casciritchie.com.