“Devil’s Whisper” is a demonic possession thriller with a Spanglish twist. This time, the family under threat has history with this demon, has a kid aspiring to become a Catholic priest under its own roof, and the curses and warnings about that demon are in both Spanish and English.
It’s not terribly scary, though the money spent on this version of the ghoulish, ghostly “Slenderman” monster (they’re always skinny) was worth it.
Alex (Luca Oriel of TV’s “Shamesless”) seems like the perfect son. He’s taken to his fireman stepdad (Marcos A. Ferraez) and idolizes his hip, war-vet priest (Rick Ravanello), so much so that his upcoming Confirmation could very well be his first step toward the priesthood. Even his confessions are PG, PG-13 at best.
“Bless me, Father. I snuck into an R-rated movie with my friends.”
“Why movie, my son?”
“Yeah, I LOVED that.”
But the move to their new house got Alex poking around grandma’s old armoire. That’s where he finds the box with no lid. And after he and stepdad almost short out the lights trying to saw it open, a crucifix pops out. Alex puts it around his neck.
You don’t have to be Catholic to know there’s trouble coming. He sees a specter in his closet, streetlights pop on and off. He hears the “Devil’s Whisper.”
I like the way the film presents the kid as idealized — so devout he won’t “Swear to God” as a teen promise — and then humanizes him. He, like stepdad, lets the occasional cussword out. He lusts after the slightly older Lia (Jasper Polish), a girl who could…teach him things.
Teen drinking, peeping tom exploits with his pals (Don’t try this at home, kids.), kids flipping each other off in church, and all this is BEFORE he gets those Satanic circles under his eyes, before he goes bad.
The story’s secrets are dull, the remedies (priest, shrink) duller, the resolution is tried and true and trite. The lead is more adequate than charismatic.
That applies to the picture, as a whole — almost adequate.
But the depiction of a child turning into a rebellious teen, with a demonic twist, works.
If you’re a demonic possession movie completist, if you simply must see everything in this worn genre that crosses your path as it crosses itself, you could do worse.
MPAA Rating: unrated, with violence, demonic frights, alcohol abuse by teens, and profanity
Cast: Luca Oriel, Rick Ravanello, Tessie Santiago, Marcos A. Ferraez, Jasper Polish
Credits:Directed by Adam Ripp, script by Adam Ripp, Paul Todisco, Oliver Robins. A Vega, Baby!/Sony Home Entertainment release.
Running time: 1:25