White Noise
Starring:
Michael Keaton, Deborah Kara Unger, Chandra West, Ian McNeice
Directed By:
Geoffrey Sax
Grade
D+

While the paranormal study of EVPs (Electronic Voice Phenomenon) has languished in near anonymity on the internet and small circles across America, it's recently seen a rise in interest due to the popularity of the Ghosthunters reality TV show on the Sci Fi Network. I would have to think that because of this, White Noise was hastily put into development to cash in on the study's fifteen minutes of fame. EVPs are believed to be recordings of the voices of people who have passed on - their voices caught on recording devices which the normal ear can't hear.

The story behind White Noise begins slowly as architect Jonathan (Michael Keaton) Rivers' life is turned upside down when his wife (Chandra West) turns up missing and then is later confirmed deceased. As Jonathon tries to go on with his life, Raymond Price (Ian McNeice) comes to him with the information that he has recorded the voice of Jonathan's wife from beyond the grave. It doesn't take Jonathon long to get on board and when Price is killed in what looks like the most obvious accident ever, Jonathon continues his work. As the story progresses, Jonathon receives video messages from beyond, allowing him to attempt to help people in their lives, but eventually the story gets to the sinister "twist" at the end (which proves to be the undoing of the story).

White Noise makes EVPs seem like some big, easy multimedia opportunity, but for those who've actually tried to get EVPs, the fiction is ridiculously far from the truth. And because of this, the fiction on which the story is based on feels forced and hokey. For anyone who has heard or actually recorded these voices/sounds, what is given to the viewer in the film is far less fearful. Only with some low-budget special effects and an evil trio of shadows can this film even come close to scary, and that's being kind. After seeing this film, I have to wonder why The American Association of Electronic Voice Phenomena wants their name anywhere close to the project as it's such an overblown fabrication that it trivializes a study that's already struggling with credibility.

Once you get past the gimmick in the film, you'll find a story that's, well, just plain boring. None of the actors really provide anything more than two dimensional and Keaton's performance is pretty stale. To be honest, he struck me as the most unconcerned husband-who's-lost-his-wife, ever. Once you progress through the story and invest yourself in what it has, the ending portion of the film feels like it just wants to wrap things up and go home. A final twist is given to you, but at this time you don't care. And the sinister trio of shadows are never made into anything more menacing than what they are: shadows.

White Noise takes a interesting paranormal concept in EVPs (Electronic Voice Phenomenon) and completely ruins any validity the study actually might have had. If you go into this film and turn your brain off, this might be enjoyable. That is, if you don't mind the slow pacing the film has. Outside of that, there are far better ghost and horror flicks out there.

- - Kinderfeld

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