White Noise (2005)

kiOnPmm5P9hhvC6bhYvqvpgZGpWhat a disappointment this was. This had its occasional highs and lows, and when it went low, it went down low to the ground with such an atmosphere of a TV movie when it shouldn’t have been. It constantly shuffles back and forth between sleek horror to watered down thriller again and again and I just lost patience with it, especially with its slow pacing which was just so frustrating. Nothing really goes on for quite a while pretty often and this never manages to keep our attention to what is happening and gets very boring in certain scenes. With such an original concept, its sad to see that very little originality is present.

Mix Poltergeist with a little of Final Destination, and some Sixth Sense, and a dash of The Ring and you have this: an unfortunately derivative and cliché addition to the ghost movie genre. Also equipped with the obligatory jump scares which are plentiful, and the usual going in to a dark room with the shrill score and nothing happening until a jump scare makes the audience bounce in their seats and pissed me off. I’m still not really sure what the entire point of the film was, and none of it seemed to want to make a point. When Raymond confronts the main character John, he shows him the EVP machinery and he has a rabbit ears television. It’s very hard to believe people still have those things, and it distracted me considerably, and where can I get that program to hear through radio messages? The pacing is often very uneven with really quick and taut scenes and then it slows down to a grinding halt instantly losing the audiences attention, especially with the murkiness within the story. Yes, it is horror, at least that’s what I consider this often unsettling and uncomfortable film while watching.

I sat there most of the time expecting something to happen, and it usually did, and right from the beginning I was hooked. Director Geoffrey Sax surely does show some skill here with an often very strong and very resonant sense of pure atmosphere that drips off the screen, along with discomfort that seeps on to the audience that they just can not ignore. The movie, for its low budget, does a great job of dispensing the mood along the story and the world it’s set in seems so closed off to its characters whom are in their own world of EVP. The question asked here is: If you were able to contact your loved one, even if only for a moment, would you? And as always, the inevitable answer is yes, and the actors through the method of EVP find they can talk to their loved ones, but right off the start we can sense something is wrong with what is happening. The signal comes in too clear and everything seems so suspicious. After an architect named John’s wife goes missing, he begins being followed by a strange man.

Unsure if his wife is alive or dead, Raymond Price (Ian McNiece) tells him, much to his chagrin, that she is indeed dead. Unwilling to accept his declaration John puts up hope and discovers that she really is dead. Heartbroken and desperate, John confronts Raymond skeptically and actually makes contact, but things suddenly go awry as he discovers within the contact, he may have let something else in, whom are trying to make contact with him whether he likes it or not. Again this is a well done picture with some really great moments that will just leave you at attention. I was engrossed from the beginning with such a tender opening and then the gripping emotions when John’s wife dies. Keaton gives a really good and understated performance as John who is so consumed with talking to his wife, he forgets the warning signs that exist all around him, even at the warnings of his friend and confidant Sarah (the fetching Sarah Kara Unger), and the suspense becomes more and more sweeping for the audience as it unfolds in to a plot a lot bigger.

As for the trio that is focused on contacting John, they’re one of the more memorable specter’s of the ghost movie craze in recent years and their shrouded presences make up for much in this film. Regardless I dug the whole concept with (whom I’ll call) “the trio” in the darkness and, as always, they ruin the atmosphere with exposing the trio’s presences in all their glory, and it was very disappointing, almost depressing. Had the director kept the trio’s features hidden in the darkness, and stayed in the shadows they’d have retained their gleaming fright, but damn, what a disappointment. Watching the trio slowly appear within the EVP on television, and then up in the rafters watching on? And it didn’t help the cause any further with the gaping plot holes that left many questions unanswered.

We’re never sure if his wife is one of the trio, or just a guiding spirit. We’re never told what she’s telling John, nor is there real explanation for the last moment of the film. We’re never told if the spirits are killing people, if someone else is killing people, or if these are natural disasters happening. And who in the hell were the trio supposed to be? We don’t know, and the writer doesn’t seem to know either. Man those dudes were spooky, and I wanted to see what they were up to in particular, and luckily we never really find out what or who they’re after, nor do we discover their goal, but they are presented in some rather good visuals which depicts them in a very dread-filled light. With gaping plot holes within the story, I found some up sides with convincing acting, well spread tension and suspense, and a great concept. Sorry to say, the signal is coming in loud and clear: This is one big missed opportunity.