HOME ABOUT SUPPORT US SITES WE LIKE FORUM Search Fanboyplanet.com | Powered by Freefind FANBOY PLANET
Now Showing Today's Date:

White Noise

Now comes time to reset the clock and start anew with 2005. This means that, for the movie going public, a rocky road lies ahead. It’s the drudges of January, best known as dumping ground for “iffy” projects and stuff films that didn’t pan out. It can be a long haul between now and Spring, but occasionally we are rewarded with a few surprises along the way. Not this time, folks.

It may seem obvious, but White Noise is not a spark of hope for the New Year. Instead, it’s one of those painfully awful films that pushes too hard to the point that exhausts viewers in the end. Every film needs it, but any film requiring this much suspension of disbelief is in serious need of a re-write. A wise Fanboy will use this week to catch up on all those great end of the year 2004 films they missed out on.

Here we are presented with EVP (Electronic Voice Phenomenon), a notion that the dead can communicate with the living via static in modern day devices. Admittedly, it was never necessary to legitimize this in the first place. The videotape phenomenon in Ringu or The Ring or the website used in Kairo do not require justification to enjoy; it's creepy enough to suggest that the dead are attempting communication with the living through modern technology. So why doesn’t it work here?

Because White Noise wants so badly to be heralded as an accurate depiction of “the real life phenomenon” that when it shies away from any sort of concrete explanation you lose your audience. Forget the ill-conceived plot points, story arc, etc. The true problem lies in the posturing. It would have been one thing to present the events and intrigue your audience to believe them. An audience is there to be entertained! They bought the ticket knowing it was a film about ghosts, so you’re already halfway there right? Nope. Instead, the filmmakers push to muster credibility in a completely incredulous fashion. We open with quotes and definitions on title cards, obviously used to implant the feeling of authenticity. Yet simply quoting Thomas Edison doesn’t do much good if the whole thing is taken out of context. It would be far more effective to simply allow the characters to discover these phenomena for themselves and deal with the eeriness of implication, rather than half-hearted explanation.

The film’s protagonist is recently re-married divorcee John Rivers (Michael Keaton). Rivers is married to a woman fondly referred to as “Babe” twice in the opening sequence. We learn that “Babe” has to meet with her editor and drop off John’s son, Mike (Nicholas Elia), at school. To complicate matters, or just to pull at our heartstrings, there is a reveal that “Babe” may also be pregnant. John is elated, and Keaton’s performance here as a prospective father is warming enough to work.

It is only after “Babe’s” car is found abandoned and she has gone missing that we learn she is best selling novelist Anna Rivers (Chandra West). Note to director Geoffrey Sax and screenwriter Niall Johnson: If you want us to care about a potential victim, let us at least know her name before she goes missing so we have something to reference her with aside from “that guys’ wife who might be pregnant” or “Babe.” John spends the better part of a week agonizing over his wife’s whereabouts while the police plumb the body of water next to her car searching for Anna, or any clues that lead to her fate.

John is confronted by Raymond Price (Ian McNeice), an expert in EVP who claims that Anna has contacted him from the “other side.” This of course implies that she has died, and John treats this assertion with contempt, as any husband clinging to the hope that his missing wife may still be alive would. Unfortunately, John’s hopes prove futile and Anna’s body is discovered down stream from her car. It is assumed that she slipped while trying to repair a blowout and sustained a massive head trauma. The rising current likely pulled her in and this is why she wound up downstream. A series of strange encounters leads John back to Raymond Price in hopes of contacting Anna beyond the grave.

Raymond specializes in recording white noise and using a computer to enhance picture and sound qualities to achieve communication with the deceased. Through Raymond, John learns more about EVP and makes the acquaintance of grieving Sarah Tate (Deborah Kara Unger). After Raymond is mysteriously murdered, John delves into his own practice of EVP using TV sets, a computer, and some VCRs to mimic Raymond’s work station. What results is dangerous dalliances with “evil spirits” who seek to wreak havoc on the living. This is all learned when John visits a psychic who informs him of the great risk involved in EVP. Just as we are getting used to EVP, the film shifts to psychic phenomenon and begs us to accept both as coinciding concrete practices. John believes his wife is posthumously informing him of future events that will result in the deaths of various people in his city, so he stays the course playing hero and piecing together clues to save lives and eschewing potential risks.

The whole thing nosedives in the end, likely in an effort to seem in trend with the current popularity of Japanese horror films that seem to have audiences enthralled lately. The problem is White Noise was never on stable ground to begin with. First of all, why would John, a celebrated Architect and husband to a best selling novelist, continue to rely on over-the-air reception for television and radio? Their combined salaries are able to afford them extravagant living quarters, nice vehicles containing GPS mapping systems, remote controlled security gates, and high end wireless phones, so why can’t they spring for Cable or Satellite reception at least for television broadcasts? The answer is simple: EVP, as a device, needs a means to sustain itself.

The film is chock full of laugh inducing plot holes such as this, and the outcome of the film is so lacking in disposition and resolution that chuckles are unavoidable. Musical cues drown out the “eerie voices from beyond,” stylistic cuts are more annoying than anything else. This was an attempt to “wow” gone wrong. The result is a failed shot at being profound.

The main concern here is saving your hard earned ducats, dear Fanboys. You’d be better entertained (and frightened) while starring at a snow-filled TV set for a good 5 minutes straight with the lights off. Even then you’d be more prone to send chills up and down your spine recalling that classic TV snow scenario in Poltergeist than anything in conjured up in White Noise.


Mario Anima

Our Friends:

Official PayPal Seal

Copyrights and trademarks for existing entertainment (film, TV, comics, wrestling) properties are held by their respective owners and are used with permission or for promotional purposes of said properties. All other content ™ and © 2001, 2014 by Fanboy Planet™.
"The Fanboy Planet red planet logo is a trademark of Fanboy Planetâ„¢
If you want to quote us, let us know. We're media whores.
Movies | Comics | Wrestling | OnTV | Guest | Forums | About Us | Sites