The Whispers (2015)

The Whispers: This is not a Drill!

Riley Riley

Some people think imaginary childhood friends are cute, others freak out and immediately cart their kids to see a shrink.

But, in the 2015 television series The Whispers, an imaginary friend named ‘Drill’ turns out to be all too real and extremely dangerous to boot — more so because adults can’t see him.

The story unfolds as a mother is lured by her young daughter to a treehouse sitting much too high off the ground where she invites her to take part in a game.

Mum, wanting to be the good sport (and get her daughter down to safety), complies but the floor gives way and she falls to the ground and is critically injured.

It’s the first of a series of ‘accidents’ involving children, who it is revealed all share the same invisible and seemingly imaginary friend called Drill.

They play Drill’s “games” in return for the rewards that he promises.

The Whispers is an American sci-fi series created and produced by Soo Hugh with co-executive producers Steven Spielberg, Justin Falvey, Darryl Frank and Dawn Olmstead for ABC Studios.

A child of Korean immigrants, Hugh is known for Pachinko (2022), The Whispers (2015) and Passengers (2008).

The show is based loosely on the short story Zero Hour by Ray Bradbury which was first published in the 1947 ‘Fall’ issue of Planet Stories and later collected in Bradbury’s 1951 anthology The Illustrated Man.

Originally titled “The Visitors” the name of the show was changed due to the similarities with another show also aired by ABC called “V” (which stands for visitors).

The Whispers stars Lily Rabe as Special Agent Claire Bennigan, FBI child specialist called in to investigate a series events connected to an invisible entity believed to be an alien that only communicates with children.

The daughter of daughter of Jill Clayburgh and David Rabe, Rabe is an actress and producer, known for Miss Stevens (2016), No Reservations (2007) and Fractured (2019).

In the show, her husband Captain Sean Bennigan (Milo Ventimiglia) is a US Air Force pilot, missing and believed to have died in a plane crash.

The three-time Emmy nominee is a star of the 2016 series This Is Us.

The estranged couple have a red-headed son called Henry who is also deaf.

Bennigan is partnered with Special Agent Jessup Rollins (Derek Webster), recently divorced and a by the book kinda guy.

He is reluctant and indeed skeptical about the investigation into Drill, although he is later forced to face the truth.

The other major player is Wes Lawrence (Barry Sloane), a high-ranking Defense Department operative with whom Bennigan had a brief affair.

Lawrence, a former Assistant Director of the FBI, is the head of Defense Special Projects Division and has close ties to the President.

He and wife Lena (Kristen Connolly)  have a daughter Minx (Kylie Rogers). More on her later.

Bennigan talks to the daughter of the woman who fell from the treehouse.

The girl, Harper, tells her she was playing a game at the time with her friend Drill.

Cut to a children’s playground where Minx accepts an invitation to the game.

Harper draws a picture and later tells Bennigan there was another boy who lost the game.

Bennigan learns a boy named Jackson Bellings also claimed to have an imaginary friend named Drill.

He detonated a bomb that killed him and injured his mother.

His mother recalls seeing a man nearby before the blast occurred and a sketch is requested.

Meanwhile, in the Sahara desert, Lawrence visits the site of a military plane crash.

The pilot is missing, but Lawrence realises who it was.

He calls Bennigan to tell her about the crash and that the body of her husband is missing.

She is confused because Sean was supposed to be flying near the Arctic — nowhere near the Sahara.

Bennigan later receives a downloaded image of the bomber sketch and recognises the figure as Sean, establishing a link between the crash, her husband and the investigation.

Is she imagining things? The kids aren’t and they’re just creepy enough to make the whole thing work.

The Whispers was axed after its first season but with 13 episodes it’s long enough was created in such a way that the first season stands by itself or could easily be continued.

It’s well acted, well written and well produced.

You can catch The Whispers on Disney+.


CHECKOUT:  Across The Universe: All you need is love

CHECKOUT:  Prey: It’s Predator versus the Comanches


Time out score

Final thoughts . . .

Interesting premise. Why’d they cancel it?


Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *