White Noise 1 & 2
White Noise (January 6/05)
Though it's not based on an Asian horror film, White Noise sure feels like one; with its glacial pace and emphasis on scares over gore, it's easy to confuse the movie for the latest Japanese fright-fest. Michael Keaton stars as Jonathan Rivers, an architect who is contacted by a mysterious scientist days after burying his dead wife. Rivers is told that he can communicate with his wife using EVP, a phenomena that allows the dead to "speak" via what essentially amounts to white noise. While it seems as though Rivers' wife is attempting to make contact, it's not long before some malicious spirits begin poking their way through. Though White Noise is packed with the sort of things that only happen in scary movies - ie a character knocks on a door and it opens by itself, Rivers investigates things in the dead of night, etc - it's hard not to be drawn into the story, particularly given the presence of Keaton in the central role (he's always been an captivating performer, though it's becoming increasingly rare to see him front-and-center in a film). The script, by Niall Johnson, features a midsection that's awfully repetitive - devoting itself almost entirely to Rivers' attempts to decipher the seemingly meaningless noises emerging from his television, while the film's ending is irritatingly obtuse. Still, it's hard to deny the film's ominous atmosphere (courtesy of cinematographer Chris Seager) and Keaton is just as charismatic and engaging as ever.
White Noise: The Light
Were it not for star Nathan Fillion's remarkably compelling performance, White Noise: The Light would undoubtedly come off as yet another run-of-the-mill, low-rent horror sequel - which, as a result of Patrick Lussier's clunky directorial choices, it sporadically does anyway. The story follows Fillion's Abe Dale as he awakens from a near-death experience with the ability to identify people who are about to die, but he eventually discovers that there's an exceedingly sinister element at work in his newfound powers. With shades of the Final Destination series and The Dead Zone, White Noise: The Light contains a number of highly improbable yet admittedly entertaining plot twists - with Abe's brief stint as a bona fide superhero easily the most obvious example of this. The movie grows increasingly preposterous as it progresses, however, and the big reveal that comes towards the finale is nothing short of laughable. And although Fillion's stellar work ensures that one can generally overlook the film's various inadequacies (more often than not, the whole thing just looks cheap), White Noise: The Light never entirely becomes anything more than a forgettable attempt to cash in on the mild success of its predecessor.