Monday, November 1, 2010

Canon Movie Review: White Noise

The final movie of the Halloween weekend Horror Movie mini-marathon (even though Halloween is technically over, but nevertheless) is White Noise. This movie was suggested to be by my sister Maggie, and since I couldn't think of any reason not to watch it, I decided to check it out for myself. White Noise is a 2005 film directed by Geoffrey Sax and stars Michael Keaton (Batman), Chandra West, Deborah Kara Unger, and Ian McNeice. In White Noise, architect Jonathan Rivers (Keaton) is distraught after his wife Anna (West) passes away in a tragic accident. One day, a man named Raymond Price (McNeice) tells Rivers that he can hear his late wife Anna through electric voice phenomena or EVP, where supposedly the voices of the dead can be heard through the white noise of static on televisions and radios. Rivers is skeptical at first, but after a mysterious phone call from his late wife's cell phone, he meets up with Price and Rivers gets deeper and deeper into EVP, which produces some rather surprising results. A few notes about this movie, and there will be SPOILERS, so proceed with caution.

- Before I start slamming the movie and its incredibly thin plot full of holes, I'd like to take time to point out some of the things this movie did right. The cinematography was nicely done, and whoever decided on the lighting should be commended, as the settings of the film did more to add suspense than anything else. As Rivers gets deeper and deeper into his EVP studies, the movie becomes darker and darker, and it adds a layer of suspense to the film. The actors, particularly Keaton, weren't too bad. To be honest, I kind of expected Keaton to mail in his performance, but to his credit, he did try his best and he and the other actors almost made this a decent film.

- Now that I've complimented the film, let me start in on some of the problems this film has. One is that the pacing for White Noise is about as slow as Cecil Fielder. It seems as if half the movie is showing Micheal Keaton either sitting on his bed, sitting in front of his computer and television screens, standing in his house, or just staring out into space. Both the director Sax, and the script writer Niall Johnson have done most of their work in television, and to be honest, the story seemed to be a 60 minute TV episode stretched to 90 minutes, with nothing but filler put in for the remaining half hour.

- This movie does not seem to know what direction it wants to go in. The first half of the movie is devoted entirely to Rivers distraught over missing his wife and trying EVP just to communicate with his late wife and get some closure. Then in the second half, Rivers becomes some kind of crusader or something, trying to save people from dying because all of a sudden he can see living people in danger before they die through EVP. This sudden leap in logic is frustrating at the very least, as the movie expects the audience to accept that a relative neophyte at EVP like Rivers not only can see nearly clear images of the dead, but he also gets visions of future events all of a sudden. Um, ok then.

- The person that got a raw deal in this movie was Johnathan's son Mikey. First, his stepmother is missing for three weeks and eventually dies. Then, instead of his father becoming closer to his son, he gets so obsessed with EVP that he becomes neglectful of his son, sending Mikey to live with his mother and largely ignoring him during their weekend visits. Poor kid, even the movie doesn't spend much time on him.

- As I stated before, the actors did their best with the material presented, but other than Rivers and Price, none of the other characters in the film get any development. This is particularly true of Sara (Unger). At first, she's just a customer and friend of Price, but all of a sudden, she becomes a key part of the story with little explanation as to why. After Price passes, Sara becomes close with Rivers, although it's anyone's guess as to why she felt compelled to help Rivers instead of one of the hundred or so other people that Price had met with. As for her role in the ending, well, I'm not going to get into that only to say that it seemed utterly ridiculous.

Overall, the producers of this movie seemed to forget that it was supposed to be a horror movie, so they added in a whole bunch of plot twists that made no sense whatsoever and were quite dull to boot. The last 20 minutes or so of this film made little to no sense, and the climax of the film was disappointing. Yes, the film had a few strengths, and the whole EVP phenomenon could definitely be the basis of a good horror film, but unfortunately, this wasn't a good horror film. Overall, I'd give White Noise a 3.45 out of 10. Well, thanks for reading, and if you have any thoughts about this review or the movie White Noise, then feel free to tell me about them by leaving a comment. Also, if you have an idea for a future review or article, then send it to me via e-mail at or leave a comment.

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