Dead people are speaking. But I guess they must be lazy. It used to be that dead people would come back as ghosts but everything has to be high tech these days. So now it appears that at least some of the dead communicate to the living through Electronic Voice Phenomenon (EVP).
EVP is another one of these phenomenas that can be argued about to death. Lots of people think the phenomenon is real. Others, myself included at least for the moment, suspect it is just electromagnetic radiation perhaps bleeding over into new frequencies from people on cell phones, web cams or ham radios. Whether it is real or not it doesn’t appear that anyone has made a movie on the topic, so producers created this new film White Noise instead.
The plot is not too hard to figure out. It would feel formulaic if this had been done before. Michael Keaton plays Jonathan Rivers, whose Barbie-doll wife (who just happens to be a best selling author) tragically loses her life under mysterious circumstances. It takes weeks for her body to show up. While he is grieving he notices a guy hanging outside his house and place of business. Eventually he confronts him and we learn he has been getting EVP messages from his wife.
Naturally it takes a bit before Jonathan will investigate further. Fortunately there are plenty of weird things going on around the house that will lead Jonathan down a path he otherwise would not have chosen. Lights go out, usually around 2:30 AM and mysterious fuzzy messages are left on his answering machines.
Soon Jonathan has become an EVP investigator himself and spends his off hours obsessively scanning frequencies for messages from his departed wife. Like clockwork the tension increases. It’s pretty easy to know when something scary is about to happen from the tone of the music by Claude Foisy. The good news is that White Noise is a pretty creepy move. It is solidly acted, directed and shot. Most of the supporting actors like Ian McNeice as Raymond and Deborah Kara Unger as Sara Tate give very good performances.
I didn’t particularly like its ending, which was too amorphous for my tastes. The editing, while overall well done, still struck me as annoying at times. The opening credits are very jarring and confusing. Overall the cinematography is well done and as you might expect much of the action happens at night.
There is nothing to really to distinguish this thriller from many others on the market these days other than its unique premise. For me its main virtue was that it was scary without being excessively gross. So if you are squeamish about movie violence this is a good creepy movie to see. It seemed like a variant on the 80’s film Poltergeist, which was a much better film. In short the film is worth your time but just barely. There are many other films out there at the moment probably more worthy of your money and time. Save seeing this one for when it comes out on DVD.
I give it a 2.8 on my 4.0 scale.