The high school years can be a scream.
Director Corin Hardy is proving that yet again with Black Bear’s latest project, Whistle. It began filming earlier this year, and features a panoply of rich acting talent, from Dafne Keen and Sophie Nélisse to Percy Hynes White, Sky Yang and Nick Frost.
The film features not 2023’s most obvious shriek-inducing horror theme — a sophomore who fails in her quest to find Taylor Swift tickets — but a classic narrative that draws upon ancient mysteries and myths.
At the center of the story is a long-lost Aztec Death Whistle, a relic that Cortés apparently declined to include in his band, and with good reason. When a group of teens finds the whistle, their next discovery is terrifying: Blowing the whistle emits a frightening sound, similar to the live version “Don’t Worry Kyoko.” Far into the future, grotesque phantoms hear the call. These ghosts turn out to be the post-mortem spirits of the teens themselves, and they don’t seem to carry many fond memories. Instead, they are intent on hunting down the high school students.
“As the body count rises, the friends investigate the origins of the deadly artifact in a desperate effort to stop the horrifying chain of events that they have set in motion,” Deadline reports.
Corin Hardy has the graveyard gratitas to pull this off. His now-classic horror film The Nun rose to number one at the box office in 2019, in the U.S. and worldwide. In Whistle, top-tier acting talents like Canadian star Percy Hynes White light up the screen with performances that allow belief-suspending audiences to revel in the thrill of screenwriter Owen Egerton’s well-crafted suspense.
As Hardy explains: “The premise of Whistle is simple, immediate and has a fresh, haunting mythology. A cursed object that summons your future death to come and find you. The screenplay has echoes of some of my favorite classic horrors like The Ring, A Nightmare On Elm Street or It Follows, with elements of seminal high school movies The Breakfast Club and Donnie Darko. I’m thrilled to be working with this brilliant young cast to bring this inventive, terrifying and cinematic new horror to death… I mean life.”
This newest starring role for Percy Hynes White is this latest indie-film in a career that began at age 9 in his hometown of St. John’s, Newfoundland. His first role was in Winners, followed by The Confessional and Little Man. In 2013 The Grand Seduction premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival, and Percy Hynes White was suddenly getting second looks.
Since then, he has starred in feature films such as Night at the Museum: Secret of the Tomb, Our House, Milton’s Secret, Rupture and Edge of Winter. For his role in Cast No Shadow, Percy won two awards: Best Actor at the 2014 Atlantic Film Festival and the Rising Star Award at the 2014 Edmonton International Film Festival. For I Like Movies he won a Best Supporting Actor Award from The Vancouver Film Critics Circle.
His other memorable television roles include The Gifted, a spin-off series in the universe of Marvel’s X-Men and a role on Jordan Peele’s reboot of the cult classic The Twilight Zone for CBS: All Access. He has also appeared in The Transplant for NBCUniversal, two seasons on Between for Netflix, and the popular Murdoch Mysteries series. Percy famously stars in the hit CBC series, Pretty Hard Cases.
While Whistle films, a very different Percy Hynes White release is now in post-production. Winter Spring Summer or Fall is a romantic drama pairing Hynes White with his Wednesday co-star, Jenna Ortega. It’s a story within a story that explores the new relationship between the characters over four days, as emotional bonds and life perspectives change like the seasons. Contrasted with the harrowing plot twists of Whistle, it’s a much happier high school experience.