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White Noise (2005)

Cast: Michael Keaton, Michael Keaton, Chandra West, more...
Director: Geoffrey Sax, Geoffrey Sax
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Studio: Universal Studios
Genre: Foreign, UK
Running Time: 98 min.
Languages: English, Spanish
Subtitles: Spanish
    see additional details...

Divorced architect Jonathan Rivers (Michael Keaton) seems to lead a pretty good life with partial custody of his young son and a happy second marriage to Anna (Chandra West), a best-selling author. Things take an ugly turn when Anna disappears during a thunderstorm, apparently the victim of a freak accident. Eventually, her body is found, and Jonathan sinks into despair. Then he meets Raymond (Ian McNeice), who claims that Anna has contacted him through EVP, or electronic voice phenomena. Raymond explains that the dead can communicate from beyond via static on common electronic equipment like radios and televisions. Jonathan is skeptical until he starts getting phone calls from Anna's inactive cell phone. He visits Raymond, whose home is filled with audio and video monitors and high-tech recording equipment. There he meets Sarah (Deborah Kara Unger), who has recently received a farewell message from her late fiancÚ. Jonathan eventually receives what appears to be a communication from Anna, but soon afterward, Raymond turns up dead. Obsessed with maintaining contact with his late wife, Jonathan visits a psychic (Connor Tracy) who warns him that he's going down a dangerous path, "meddling" in the affairs of the dead. Undaunted, Jonathan continues to study EVP and eventually finds that he's getting messages from people who haven't died...yet. White Noise was directed by Geoffrey Sax from an original script by Niall Johnson. ~ Josh Ralske, All Movie Guide

GreenCine Member Reviews

Snap, Crackle, Pop! Scared Yet? by talltale May 6, 2005 - 1:53 PM PDT
2 out of 2 members found this review helpful
A rotten premise can make mincemeat of the best photography, pacing, performance and everything else that goes into a film. Case in point: WHITE NOISE, a Canadian-filmed silly-fest that actually uses the supposed occurrence of Electronic Voice Phenomenon (EVP) to try sending chills up our spine. But without accessing the "captions for the hearing impaired" option, I swear we couldn't have understood a word the crackling, hard-to-decipher voices were saying. Ditto the grainy, obscure video images. Truly, you could achieve the same effect (probably a scarier one) by watching and listening to a bowl of rice krispies just after you've poured in the milk, turned out the light and put on a pair of very dark sunglasses. Oh, yes--the clocks here often stop at 2:30, as well. Boy, that's REALLY scary!

About 15 minutes into this drivel, you may already be shaking your head in disbelief. Wait-- it gets better. Because bad sound and visual effects clearly are not going to manage the scares, the moviemakers decide to gussy it all up by giving their images the ability to materialize, going completely against their initial premise. But only "certain" of the images (the bad ones, 'natch) have this ability, thus breaking the rules that have pointedly been set up via dumb exposition. And without any rules, as fans of horror/sci-fi so well know, a fantasy story is rendered pointless.

Michael Keaton overacts periodically, but at least this adds a few chuckles to the mix; Deborah Kara Unger is her usual combination of beautiful and strange; and Ian McNeice, always a treat to watch, plays a nearly-normal character for a change. Otherwise, the movie is much less fun than spending time diddling with your own audio-visual equipment--which approximates what the Keaton character does throughout most of these dismal 98 minutes.

Note: The DVD Special Features actually includes a section titled "Recording the Afterlife at Home: A fascinating and chilling guide to making your own EVP recordings." Stop laughing--I'm serious. But I guess we were so very scared by the time we finished snoring--er, watching "White Noise"--that we decided to skip this little "bonus."

I hope everyone involved in this movie has the chance to view "Primer," a sci-fi film made for maybe 1/100th the budget of "White Noise" and that turned out 100 times better.

GreenCine Member Rating

(Average 4.24)
21 Votes
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