Whiplash is the story of Andrew Neimann's (Miles Teller) drumming career at a music conservatory, and the relationship he has with his horrific instructor, Terrence Fletcher (J. K. Simmons.)
As Whiplash's opening credits flashed across the screen, I noticed something I didn't expect to see: The Blumhouse Productions logo.
You may recognize this logo from film series such as Insidious, Paranormal Activity, and The Purge. Horror movies- Not a genre you usually see on the list of Best Picture nominees. The movie moves on, and so do my thoughts. Whiplash starts out with what the trailers promise you: drumming, a loud teacher, and a struggling teen. Then, Neimann and Fletcher begin to work together.
This is where things get interesting. The story dives deeper into the dark. Fletcher's true colors start to show through. J. K. Simmons earns his spot among Film's greatest villains with Fletcher's manipulative, intense abusive behavior. The audience's heart rate speeds up with Miles Teller's drumbeat.
Jason Blum's horror themed production company's involvement began to make sense. What I expected was an intense musical drama. What I go was a psychological thriller. Fletcher is so evil to these desperate kids, Niemann in particular, many of them come to the point of a mental breakdown. You aren't just scared for Miles Teller, you're scared yourself. The entire theater was just as intimidated by J. K. SImmons as Teller was. The painful drum solos make your hands hurt and sweat. Your muscles won't get to relax until all two hours are up, and even then they're still tense.
Whiplash is the scariest non-horror movie ever made. It is difficult to have a ten minute instrumental break with no dialogue and not lose the audience, but everyone was captivated all 107 minutes. The film is lead by two of the year's best performances. I've never heard as many audible gasps as I did in that auditorium. It is as much of a cinematic experience as Boyhood, if not a better one.
Whiplash is up for 5 Academy Awards. It is now playing in theaters, at 107 minutes long. Whiplash is Directed by Damien Chazelle and stars Miles Teller and J. K. Simmons. Check out the clip below to see what I'm talking about.