White Noise (2005)

Movie trailers. Too often they end up being better than the film they are advertising in the first place. White Noise had an amazing trailer. Within its opening seconds I thought that maybe some indie documentary on the supernatural was coming our way. Either that or another attempt to recapture that Blair Witch lightning. Then, of course, by trailer’s end it ended up being the newest big budget spookfest on the block starring Michael Keaton. Immediately images of Dragonfly and The Mothman Prophecies started dancing through my head. I started hearing my own White Noise; it was saying, “Don’t spend the $9.00! You’re gonna be sorry!”

We as horror fans have a curse, and that curse is that no matter what, even if we’re sure a film is going to be bad, we have to see it anyway. Was I sure? All I know is that when it came time to plunk down my cash, I did so readily.

Welcome to the world of Jonathan Rivers (Keaton). He has it all for this day and age. A great relationship with his ex-wife, a loving son from that marriage, and a newly pregnant second wife named Anna played by Chandra West. Things were looking very much up for him until one night Anna didn’t come home. Within a few minutes it became apparent that she was never coming home again. At least not the way that us “living” folks do. From there on Rivers embarks on a deadly journey that few should ever take — one riddled with images and messages from the other side that cannot be escaped.

White Noise tries to do a lot of things, but only some of them come off as strong as they should. Is this a straight horror film? Is it a murder mystery? Ultimately I think it’s a bit of both. Director Geoffrey Sax does a great job of keeping things interesting by eliciting strong, sympathetic performances from much of his cast; but with all that is going on, things get a bit muddled at quite a few points in the film.

As a paranormal buff I love anything that has to do with ghosts, and the trailer had me hook, line, and sinker. I just wish that they would have employed a bit of the realism touched upon in the trailer into the feature itself, especially during the end credits. Actual EVP instead of a poppy rock song would have served the film’s audience much better.

So there you have it. The first genre offering of 2005 has left the proverbial gates, and the good news is that it’s better than most of 2004’s abysmal crop. The only problem is that there’s just not that much of a reason to sit up and check out what all of the noise is about.

White Noise 2005
Universal Pictures
Directed by Geoffrey Sax
Starring Michael Keaton, Chandra West, Deborah Kara Unger, Ian McNeice

2 1/2 out of 5

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Steve Barton

You're such an inspiration for the ways that I will never, ever choose to be.