White Noise Review
EVP - Electronic Voice Phenomena, or put more simply, the (alleged) method of communication by spirits through tape recorders and other electronic devices, as opposed to Cher's latest record. It is this phenomenon that is the plot device at the centre of White Noise.
Jonathon Rivers (Keaton) tragically loses his wife in a car accident. He does his best to get on with his life, but weird things happen to him (well how else would the plot advance?), all relating to electrical devices. He is basically stalked by Raymond Price (McNeice) who informs him that Anna, Jonathon's deceased wife, is talking to him. Eventually, Jonathon succumbs to meeting Price and hearing his wife “talk”, but it's not enough. Soon Jonathon is talking to electrical equipment and buying more gadgets than your average AV enthusiast. He becomes ultimately obsessed with talking or hearing his wife again, but it soon becomes obvious that not all of the deceased are nice people......
Well, there's two main criticisms I would have of this movie. The first is it starts a little too slowly. I appreciate that it needs to set events up, but this is a movie with a relatively short running time, so I did expect the setup to take less than a third of the movies running time. The second criticism is that it isn't really sure what sort of movie it wants to be. Is it a love story, a thriller or a horror? There's moments where the bond between husband and wife is touched upon (in a Titanic kind of way) but this isn't expanded on. It seems to be a horror/ghost story with eerie sounds and ghostly apparitions, but soon it descends into a more traditional thriller, with only the EVP acting more as a plot device for the thriller, rather than the supernatural tones that were previously touched upon, even when it was earlier seen moving the plot forward. As such, it's far too undecided on its genre to be classified as a must see. Having said that, if you persevere with the movie and can forgive its initial slow pace, it is not entirely a complete loss. Keaton has been infinitely better (Beetlejuice, Batman Returns) and has been noticeably absent from our screens, but he shows a glimpse of his former self in this role - although he does seem to be going through the motions a little. It was however nice to see Deborah Kara Unger again, having enjoyed her role in “The Game” many years ago and she puts in a decent enough turn here too. The story does rely on the usual cheap shocks (by making loud sudden noises) and as such this either makes the movie a jump-fest or a lazy mechanism for easy scares. The plot device of EVP is novel, but in a way it does remind me too much of Poltergeist, but nowhere near as effective as that. Still, even though the movie doesn't quite know what it wants to be ultimately, there are worse ways to spend 90 minutes.