"White Noise" is yet another horror film that takes a potentially interesting idea and crams it into an old, formula structure with absolutely nothing in the way of surprise, fright or entertainment.
Months later, a mysterious man (Ian McNeice) approaches John, claiming to be an expert in EVP (Electronic Voice Phenomenon), telling him that he has been receiving signals from Anna, via television and radio static. John becomes obsessed with listening to the static, searching for messages form Anna. But soon he finds himself in the middle of an entirely new mystery.
The problem is, "White Noise" doesn't make a lot of sense. Each time John makes a discovery, the film awkwardly steps all over the previous one. First the ghosts want John to help people, then live people are dying because of him, then he's helping them again.
The film also glosses over day-to-day details, such as John's relationship with his ex-wife -- who seems to swoop in every time he needs her to baby-sit for the weekend -- or his job, which seems to be able to operate without him for weeks at a time while he's parked in front of his computer monitors.
Geoffrey Sax, a television director who makes his big screen debut here owes a great deal to recent Asian horror films, like "The Eye," a stylish chiller in which a woman starts seeing ghosts after retinal surgery. But he fails to generate any suspense, falling back on Wes Craven-style, standard-issue jump-shocks, in which every time you see an empty spot in the frame, you can be sure a ghost is going to jump out. He also wraps the entire package in a kind of inhuman video twitch, perfected by David Fincher in "Seven" and most recently adapted in Gore Verbinski's remake of The Ring."
Michael Keaton once proved himself a wonderfully versatile actor, capable of comedy ("Beetlejuice"), dark drama ("Batman," "Clean and Sober"), and even Shakespeare ("Much Ado About Nothing"). His career virtually ended in 1997; since then he has only been in very few movies, and most of them forgettable.
"White Noise" get credit for bringing Keaton back for a moment, but otherwise it's a waste of time.
Run time: 101 mins
In Theaters: Friday 7th January 2005
Box Office USA: $55.9M
Box Office Worldwide: $56.1M
Distributed by: Universal Pictures
Production compaines: Universal Pictures, Gold Circle Films, Brightlight Pictures, Endgame Entertainment, Corus, The Movie Network (TMN), Province of British Columbia Film Incentive BC, Canadian Film or Video Production Tax Credit (CPTC)
Contactmusic.com: 2 / 5
Rotten Tomatoes: 8%
Fresh: 12 Rotten: 135
IMDB: 5.5 / 10
Director: Geoffrey Sax
Starring: Michael Keaton as Jonathan Rivers, Chandra West as Anna Rivers, Deborah Kara Unger as Sarah Tate, Ian McNeice as Raymond Price, Keegan Connor Tracy as Mirabelle Keegan, Sarah Strange as Jane, Nicholas Elia as Mike Rivers, Mike Dopud as Detective Smits, Marsha Regis as Police Woman
Also starring: Sara Strange
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