White Noise


Micheal Keaton as Jonathan Rivers
Chandra West as Anna Rivers
Deborah Kara Unger as Sarah Tate
Ian McNeice as Raymond Price
Sarah Strange as Jane
Nicholas Elia as Mike Rivers
Mike Dopud as Detective Smits
Marsha Regis as Police Woman
Brad Sihvon as Minister
Mitchell Kosterman as Work Man
L Harvey Gold as Business Man
Amber Rothwell as Susie Tomlinson
Suzanne Ristic as Mary Freeman
Keegan Connor Tracy as Mirabelle Keegan
Miranda Frigon as Carol Black

An interesting premise and good work by Keaton can’t save White Noise from its script – a vague mish-mash of half-thoughts and scare tactics.

Keaton plays John Rivers – a successful architect and husband to West’s Anna – a best selling author. When Anna goes missing and eventually is found dead, John is devastated. Soon, he is visited by Raymond Price – an expert in EVP (electronic voice phenomenon) who claims he is receiving messages from Anna ‘from the other side.’ Skeptical at first, John soon throws himself headfirst into the world of EVP hoping to gain closure. However, he soon learns not all spirits on the other side are friendly.

White Noise is Rated PG-13 for violence, disturbing images and language.

What Worked:
Keaton. Plain and simple. What little he has to work with here – in the form of the flimsy story line – he carries. It was really good to see him back on the big screen and in solid form. You genuinely feel for him in his grief over the death of his wife and you want him to stop obsessing over EVP before he gets hurt. He has a good supporting cast as well. Unger is intriguing as the EVP friend Sarah and McNeice is convincing in a limited role as the EVP buff Price.

What true scares there are in the film come as a result of the EVP messages. Not since Poltergeist or Carpenter’s Prince of Darkness did I feel so uneasy about static-filled televisions and taped messages from the future.

What Didn’t Work:
There was too much that didn’t work to get into without spoiling the film. However, I will touch on a few points. The story – ack! It seems the writer Niall Johnson started armed with an attractive idea and good back-story, but had no earthly idea how to bring it all together in the end. The ‘villains’ of the film are a trio of shadow spirits – three figures that apparently have a grudge against those who dabble in EVP. However, there is NO explanation as to who/what these figures are or what their particular beef is with EVPers. Apparently, Price has had run-ins with the ‘men in the room’ before according to his account diaries, but why – after his 22 years as an EVP hobbyist – do they decide to turn violent on him now?

Then there is the twist that some of the messages Keaton’s Rivers intercepts are from people who are not dead yet, but will die soon! Huh? Is this EVP or ESP? Keaton believes it is his dead wife trying to get him to go into hero mode and save these people before they meet their maker, but that is never really verified.

While the shadow men are the bad guys, they do need a corporeal intermediary with a nasty disposition to assist with their hazy agenda, and that revelation falls painfully flat.

There also is the clich├ęd sap and sequel suggestion at the end. Yawn.

In the end, there are just too many unanswered questions regarding the players and motives in White Noise. While I can’t recommend a trip to the theater, the movie could make for an decent impulse rental on a dark and stormy night.

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