Rated | Alphabetical
Geoffrey Sax, UK / Canada, 2005
Posted: January 13, 2005
White Noise deals with the subject of EVP (Electronic Voice
Phenomenon), a process by which the dead communicate with the living through
radio or television signals (I think you have to have digital cable to get them,
though) and relay messages through television screens filled with static.
However, there is another phenomenon at work here called POS, also known as
Piece Of. well, you can fill in the blank. The makers of this film suckered the
C-Man on this one, kind reader. I was just so desperate for a spooky,
supernatural flick that I was blinded by the slick advertisements and
commercials. Man, it just seemed like an awesome premise. I should have been
wary of any film that opens in the elephant's graveyard that is January. To say
that I was wrong does not do justice to the soul violation that is this film.
Here's the, uh, plot: After Michael Keaton's wife dies, she contacts some portly
dude via EVP, and in turn the portly dude seeks out Keaton to share the creepy
news. Soon, Keaton's character is obsessed with EVP, buying computers and
televisions to try to make communication with his departed wife, and basically
sitting and watching days upon days of static. The premise here is that if your
loved ones can reach you, so too can the "others." The "others," in this case,
would be your run-of-the-mill evil spirits, personified here by three shadowy
figures that show up from time to time in the static.
Soon, the portly dude gets waxed by the evil spirits, and Keaton (dude, what
were you thinking?) starts getting messages from people who aren't
dead yet! I can't help but recall a line from a Chris Rock concert when he
was talking about dudes who have a GED. When the parents of the GED pupil
declared that he could now go to college, Rock simply replied, "Slow down."
That's what I felt like telling the makers of this film: Yo, slow down! You
ain't even made the case for your little ghost story flick, and now the main
character is some sort of a superhero getting supernatural "bat signals" for
help in the static on his TV. Damn!
Too much time is wasted revealing the wife's death. Note to the director: It
could have started with the wife's death! We all know she croaked, okay?
Get on with it. Then the film goes to great lengths to show you the three
shadowy figures from time to time, but never does anything much with them. They
should have been the focus of the film, the undesirable consequence of a
marvelous discovery. Instead they just appear in the static from time to time
and cast their shadows near those who have been marked for death, those that
appear in peril on Keaton's TV. Pick a story, why don't ya? Develop something.
White Noise is a lot like staring into a static-filled television screen
-- only not as rewarding, 'cause you can stare at your TV screen for free. I
stared at the exit sign, counted the number of seats in the first row, and even
started to wonder when I'd get my W2 form in the mail. Needless to say, this
film ain't exactly an attention grabber. This was the longest hour and a half,
or two hours (it felt more like five) I've ever been subjected to. I swear it
had the fatigue factor of The Ten Commandments. I felt like when I
finally emerged from the theatre, that the seasons had changed, I had grown a
beard, and apes now ruled the earth.
White Noise is indisputable proof that the opposite of the phrase "time
flies when you're having fun" is true. Time actually stops. A dude watching
static on TV can only go so far, okay? Forget about the horrible story -- you're
willing to go along with it, as long as it ends! But this film just does not
work on any level. At best, this is like a made-for-TV movie you could catch on
TNT on a Thursday night at 11:30 pm.
When it was over, the whole audience just seemed drugged and thankful to leave.
That's never a good sign. Trust me on this one. If you're intrigued by the idea
of EVP, stay at home at watch a channel of static or talk to your toaster or
something -- anything. But don't go see White Noise. Time is
precious. I lost some that I'll never be able to reclaim. Don't make the same
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