The Final Girls Berlin Film Festival runs from 6th – 9th February and kicks off with an anthology film from Australia. Most will have heard of stars like Asher Keddie, and some will know names like Andrea Demetriades and Anthony LaPaglia. They all feature in this wraparound anthology film from women filmmakers across Australia. Dark Whispers is an anthology movie with ten short films all tied together by the main character.
The story begins with Clara who is reading a book passed down from her mother. Each chapter marks a new story and it becomes obvious straight away that the book is bringing some of its inherent spookiness into the present time. As she begins to read ‘The Birthday Girl’ a story about a little girl haunting her grieving mother, the door to her apartment swings shut.
Dark Whispers Vol 1
The Man Who Caught A Mermaid + Gloomy Valentine
The Man Who Caught a Mermaid follows next. A seemingly harmless man with a fixation on capturing a mermaid finally proves everyone wrong. When his discovery won’t eat, he takes drastic measures to try and keep his prized possession alive. As the film comes to a close and returns to Clara and her book, she hears a screeching in the pipes coming from her kitchen.
Undeterred she moves on to Gloomy Valentine. If you’re a fan of stop motion this particular story might just be your very favorite. A sad and forlorn dark-haired woman sighs as she’s tormented by a shadowy presence. As she remembers happier times the tale quickly turns dark and by the time the film returns back to Clara in the safety of her apartment, she has finally decided to put the book down for a little break, reminded of her own loss.
Watch Me + Story Time
Watch Me speaks to the current trend of being online at all times. A woman is the star of online phenomena where people watch her every minute of every second of every day. Subsequently, it’s at this point the book Clara is reading begins to beckon her instead of waiting patiently for her to continue to read. It dives straight into a sepia and low colored indigenous film called Story Time. Monsters abound here and children discover that folklore should be respected at all times.
The Ride + White Song
The Ride is the short film starring Anthony LaPaglia starring in a tale of morals. A respin of the classic, “what would you do?” scenario. For a film with a really strong cast, it adds only a slight snippet of entertainment amidst beautiful landscapes. Meanwhile, Clara is quite freaked out and the anthology speeds on to a twisted narration about life and loss. A vengeful spirit that can be called on to ease a human’s suffering with White Song.
In a quick change of pace and theme, the book switches up to a modern tale set in black and white. A woman sits in bed messaging randoms. With a title like Grillz, one could only imagine the ensuing close up of the woman’s overly large teeth will come into play at some point. Fortunately, it’s not long before the gist of the story unfolds. Following on from this comes another monster-within-type-story that begins in a nursery for plants. A couple of stoners learn the hard way that you are what you eat.
The Intruder Wraps Up Dark Whispers Vol 1
Finally, Dark Whispers Vol 1 anthology movie, ends with one last short story to wrap everything up and completes with The Intruder. The Intruder stars Asher Keddie, beginning during a storm where a frightened woman discovers a creeper has come back to harass her.
Overall Dark Whispers is a nice time passer but could have done with a bit more boundary-pushing. It does do a nice job of encasing all the storylines as they are very different from one another.