After finding out that his wife Anna (West) was pregnant,
Jonathan Rivers (Keaton) is the happiest man alive but when Anna doesn't
return home that night, he starts to fear the worst. Two weeks later, Jonathan
is approached by Raymond Price (McNeice) who tells him that Anna is dead
but she is communicating with him through the medium of EVP (Electronic
Voice Phenomenon). Jonathan dismisses his claim until he hears Anna's voice
on his answering machine.
After years of gore and killing teenagers, Hollywood has finally
realised that there is more to horror with Asian cinema pointing the way.
Can 'White Noise' scale the same heights of terror as 'The Ring' or 'The
Grudge'? No, but it is a good try.
EVP (Electronic Voice Phenomenon) is an intriguing subject
matter for a movie and has infinite possibilities in today's technology
driven world. The ideal that the dead can communicate through audio and
visual mediums such as television, radio, telephones etc was touched upon
in 'The Ring' but this tries to take the phenomena a lot further than a
video tape. Here we get to hear and see the dead on the phone and on the
TV and this sets up the potential for some good shocks.
Why the Asian approach to horror has worked so well over the
last few years is that the filmmakers rely on shocks and not gore to get
their frights. Sudden flashes, fast cuts and the power of suggestion can
breed much more fear than a masked killer with a bloody knife. 'White Noise'
tries this but only succeeds some of the time. There are some genuine jumpy
moments here but nothing to really creep you out and have you cowering in
fear. The reason is a lack of tension and backstory. Asian movies always
have a tale behind the ghost's appearance but 'White Noise' doesn't explain
the motivations behind the 'three spirits'. This means the tension is not
as high as it could have been and the characters and story are not developed
Michael Keaton was a superstar in the late 80s early 90s but
his star has fallen over recent years and it is hard to understand why.
He is a very good actor who just doesn't seem to be offered the roles he
was getting in his glory years. 'White Noise' doesn't do much to give his
career any bouncebackability but it is a start. The character of Jonathan
is very one-dimensional and Keaton doesn't have much to do other than look
at the TV and play with some equipment. He does do his best with what he
is given but he can't work miracles. Deborah Unger also has very little
to do as fellow EVP investigator and the same can be said about Chandra
West as Anna.
'White Noise' is a good try for Hollywood as it tries to get
up to the horror standard set by Asian cinema but the film just doesn't
have the plot or backstory elements in place to reach those types of scares.
You need to invest in the characters to become involved with them and this
really doesn't do enough to draw you in. With a lack of background on the
'three spirits' we never get to know their true motivations and this limits
any terror that can be induced, therefore cutting down on the scares, which
is the most important part of any horror movie. Lets hope Hollywood can
go on from here and produce a really good scary movie of their own.
Making Contact: EVP Experts (8.40 mins)
Co-directors Tom and Lisa Butler and founder Sarah Estep talk about AA-EVP
(American Association of Electronic Voice Phenomena) and its continuing
research into EVP. Featuring actual recorded EVPs, the featurette looks
into the history of the phenomena and looks at actual cases that the association
has become involved with.
Recording the After Life at Home (4.25 mins)
AA-EVP co-directors Tom and Lisa Butler show you how to make EVP recordings
of your own. They reveal what equipment you would need to record something
and give instructions on how to actually to this in your own home, offering
support via their website.
Hearing is Believing: Actual EVP Sessions (14.32 mins)
Host Jim Moret goes on two EVP investigations with AA-EVP co-directors
Tom and Lisa Butler. The trio visit two haunted buildings, Holly Mont
Castle in Los Angeles and the Excalibur Nightclub in Chicago. Tom and
Lisa set out to record some EVP and reveal some supernatural history for
both of the sites.
Deleted Scenes (9.34 mins)
Entitled 'John drives to work', 'John reports Anna missing', 'Bar scene',
'Balcony hit' and 'Shocking twist', these deleted or extended scenes suffer
from not having an introduction or commentary telling you why they were
The DVD presentation for 'White Noise' is very different to your usual
Hollywood fair. With no behind the scenes featurettes or even a commentary
track, the DVD concentrates on the phenomena of EVP instead and this is
a refreshing change. Hearing actual recordings of EVP is actually more
creepy than the film itself and each featurette makes for compulsive viewing,
whatever your opinion on the phenomena. This makes the DVD an extremely
interesting rent and a good buy for fans.
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