White Noise (2005) – movie review

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Movie Review by Neils Hesse

Starring: Michael Keaton, Deborah Kara Unger, Ian McNeice, Chandra West, Colin Chapin

Director: Geoffrey Sax

Electronic Voice Phenomena (EVP) is basically the practice of attempting to record “the dead, through sound and image, who communicate with the living through the static and white noise of modern electronic devices”, and this is the premise for WHITE NOISE.

Jonathan Rivers (Michael Keaton) is a happily married man whose wife Anna (Chandra West) tragically dies. Soon after this incident he is approached by a man called Raymond Price (Ian McNeice), who claims to have recorded Anna on a tape recorder with a message for him. Initially Jonathan brushes it all aside but a few strange events make him re-evaluate the whole scenario and soon enough he goes to see this man. Just as Jonathan seems to be getting close to hearing more from his wife, Raymond Price mysteriously and tragically dies. Undeterred by this shocking turn of events Jonathan buys his own equipment and starts to record whatever messages or noises come through, despite a warning from a psychic to steer clear of any such activities. As he gets closer and closer to contacting his late wife, his attempts lead him into a perilous situation that he could never have foreseen.

Director Geoffrey Sax has done a good job at making this supernatural thriller/chiller believable and this is what makes it spooky. He has also managed to infuse a decent storyline.. The only point where he falters slightly is towards the end when he gives into modern conventions and decides to reveal some things that might have been better off unseen.

Michael Keaton headlines here with a strong performance that makes the story more plausible and accessible to anyone who has experienced the desperation of losing a loved one. Portraying the grief and initial cynicism his character experiences and then the new found hope felt on discovering EVP, this is a very welcome return to the big screen in a lead role for Keaton.

This is an old fashioned chiller that relies more on suggestion rather than instant shock techniques and in this day and age of CGI inspired horror flicks like THE HAUNTING, it is very reassuring to come across simple yet effective horror films like this one.

3 out of 6 stars