Marcus McCollum’s horror drama is a film teeming with potential that never fully realizes it. Even with the somewhat tense finale, a lot of “Noise in the Middle” is mixed up, half baked ideas about mysticism, the supernatural, the afterlife and the toll that grief can have on us. It’s “The Shining” meets “The Babadook” without any of the heavy emotional weight or substance. The writers MCollum and Mark Conley throw so much in the air and none of it ever lands with considerable resonance.
After the sudden death of his wife, Richard, the grieving father of a severely non-verbal autistic girl named Emmie, seeks experimental therapy where he unknowingly rents an Air B&B with a haunted history. This supernatural element stirs his daughter’s psychic abilities along with his personal demons that begin to boil the surface and interrupt his attempts to communicate with her and begin progress.
“Noise in the Middle” leans very heavy in to the drama genre, focusing more on the idea of grief and moving on from the effect a loved one had on us. The writers establish the relationship between Richard and Emmie almost to a fault, as most times it’s Emmie trying to connect through her own ticks, while dad Richard groans in frustration. A lot of Emmie’s own life is explored through flashbacks, and flashbacks that seem to almost be hinting at something. The writers feel like they’re leading us in to a big reveal, but it never actually comes.
There’s so much inexplicable plot elements that arrive, that left me scratching my head. What significance did the ghost kids play in Emmie’s development? What significance, if any, did the history of the house have with Richard and Emmie’s storyline? Were they protecting her or trying to kill her? What did the nightmares mean to Richard? Was Richard possessed, or did he willingly give himself over to the ghosts in the house? Why did Richard set up so many surveillance cameras only to forget about them almost immediately? What was the whole point of the blue aura, and how did it come in to play in the final scene?
If Rick was hell bent on putting Emmie in to an institution what convinced him to bring her to the Air B&B to get experimental medical treatment that could help her? To what end was the ghost working with Richard? In either case, “Noise in the Middle” almost always feels very undercooked, with ideas that never form a cohesive narrative. Somewhere deep down is a great supernatural thriller about grief; it just never rises to the surface.
Will have its worldwide premiere on the premium AVOD Horror Channel “Kings of Horror” on Thursday, October 29th, and will include a live stream chat with the filmmakers and several cast members. The film will remain on the platform exclusively for six weeks before launching onto multiple digital platforms beginning Friday, December 11th.