Monolith’s Whisper is so rough around the edges that it’s almost impossible to recommend to anyone other than fans of the game.
Despite being well-received by critics and a small but dedicated fanbase, I assume not many filmmakers were interested in making a movie based on the S.T.A.L.K.E.R., a forgotten first-person shooter from 2007, which would explain why Monolith’s Whisper is a production made entirely by fans of. Unfortunately, even though this movie was made by people who loved the source material, this film is so rough around the edges and woefully inconsistent that it’s almost impossible to anyone other than fans of the game.
The movie stars by telling all the events that took place between the Chernobyl accident and the beginning of Monolith’s Whisper. To tell this portion of the story, a lot of real footage taken from the news and other sources was used and for the most part, it seems fitting and suitable. Monolith’s Whisper tells the story of Alexey Savchuk who became an exiled victim of the Chernobyl accident and is now going back to the Exclusion Zone to rescue his lost brother.
Passion and dedication goes a long way when there’s a small budget to make a 68 minute movie, but while this is certainly a labor of love, it’s also filled with imperfections. The story doesn’t have anything new to offer and I found it hard to follow, there’s poor editing, the movie feels too long for such a simple narrative and the dialogue is simplistic. I’m convinced that this was a labor of love, but its poor production values and dull story make Monolith’s Whisper hard to recommend to pretty much anyone. For all intents and purposes, this is a video game in movie form: there’s little to no character development as they move from point A to point B with minimal interaction between them.
Also, for a fan film based on an action first-person shooter with horror elements, this movie’s incredibly boring. For the longest time, nothing happens, but then there’s a shootout or something random appears and then we’re back to boredom. I know this was due to the lack of resources, but Metal Gear Solid: Philanthropy proved that you could make a fan project that was loyal to the source material and entertaining to watch at the same time. In other words, the fact that a film is made by fans doesn’t mean that you can make a poor product and hope for the best.
Finally, I feel like the people behind Monolith’s Whisper every trick in the book to catch the audience’s attention. We see first-person shooting sequences (not as obscene as the one in Doom, but this is silly nonetheless) the camera turns into a sniper rifle scope, special effects for shadowy monsters are used, there’s real footage and the lies goes on and on. Instead of feeling invested in what’s happening, you’re more likely to feel fatigued or distracted by visual gimmicks. But despite all its problems, the video game developer was so happy with this fan-project they allowed the fan-made movie to receive commercialization permission and this is the first time that this happened.
Monolith’s Whisper isn’t for everyone. Fans of the source material looking for more S.T.A.L.K.E.R should definitely give it a chance and if most of the reviews and comments I read online are to be believed, they are going to have a terrific time with this. Everyone else should ignore Monolith’s Whisper, since they’ll find this a boring and poorly made fan project.