(view quicktime trailer)

*** WHITE NOISE     
    Warning, possible spoilers below...

    The first movie to jump head first into the topic of EVPs, electronic recordings in which the dead are supposedly able to speak, White Noise borrows a little from the realm of The Ring, using the computer monitor to bring shock value to the eyes.  EVP research is based almost entirely in audio, so having so much video influence throughout the film hurts authentity here.  Better use of surround sound would have done the same thing.

    Michael Keaton plays Jonathan Rivers, a husband who has just lost his wife only to discover that she lives on in the world of EVPs, first on his answering machine, then his cell phone, then finally on his computer screen.  The concept itself is a good one and is well executed, perhaps a little too simply.  Keaton gives one of the worst performances of his career here, staying in virtually the same frame of mind throughout the film as if Jonathan Rivers is on some very heavy medication, which may be possible but it was never introduced into the movie.  It would have been a great band-aid.

    To look to how this character should have been played, look to the recent The Forgotten.  There J. Moore shows you how its done, running every emotion throught the ringer and sometimes two or three at once.  Keaton misses every chance to shine.  Wife leaves the house, concerned look.  Wife missing, concerned look.  Wife dead, concerned look.  His expression barely changes when he discovers he can talk to his dead wife.  There needs to be some insantity.  Where was the passion?  Nothing seems to really bother the character. 

    Jonathan Rivers also takes the introduction of EVPs into his life a bit too easily.  There is no scepticism in him at all.  And it takes his character a good five minutes or less to be turned into a believer.  Turning someone on to EVPs should have been a major plot point and should have ran the entire film, but the writers were too quick to get to the juicy parts.

    Anna Rivers, played by Chandra West, is an on-screen enigma.  Besides the fact that she shares the same experiences with our main character, there is virtually no reason for her to be in the film.  If she was to be a love interest, it was lost on the cutting room floor, but that doesn't seem to be possible.  Your guess is as good as mine.

    Editing also plagues White Noise.  One moment Anna Rivers is near the computer screen and discovers she may be in danger, the next moment she is in some random bedroom.  There is no establishing shot or reason for the quick jump.  Michael Keaton's character meets a hard end off film when the other side turns on him, a fact which left me scratching my head and wanting more.  Unfortunately you don't get more.  Why didn't the other side attack him earlier?  What was their motivation?  The weirdest scene in the movie is the last scene in which Anna Rivers looks right as if she is about to be attacked, like this is a slasher flick and they are trying to setup a sequel.  And this happens right after a funeral scene.  Totally inappropriate.  This is a drama.  It should have just ended.

    Still, because of the freshness of the EVP idea, and only because of thus, this movie is worth a view.  The topic saves the movie.  It doesn't go anywhere new cinematically, but it does have its scary moments.  And a few Silence of the Lamb-like twists at the end are right turns from what was expected. (-WILLIAM J PINIARSKI-)


    White Noise presents some rather unique DVD featurettes dealing not with the movie itself, but with the EVP subject directly through the eyes of two EVP experts.  Through nearly a half hour of footage, one gets to experience actual EVP recordings and experiences.

    Most importantly, the process of getting an EVP yourself (startlingly simple) is gone through in great detail.  You'll never look at the flashing button on your answering machine quite the same again.  Within minutes after viewing this DVD you may be recording EVPs yourself.  The technology is so cheap and the process is so easy.

    One thing that is missing here is contrary opinions.  Having some sceptics or more EVP experts would have been a better way to go.  But still, the educational experience of recording EVPs is worth a few bucks on its own.

    Deleted and expanded scenes from the movie are standard fair.  Most interesting is a expanded end scene in which more Silence of the Lambs will enter your head.


    To celebrate Universal's release of the EVP-based White Noise DVD, exclusive access was given to a select number of media outlets on Monday May 16th including ParaSEEK. At the Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel, Tom and Lisa Butler, Directors of the American Association of Electronic Voice Phenomena, demonstrated live EVP techniques.

    The Hollywood Roosevelt has been a hotbed of paranormal activity, being the first stop for many actors and actresses since 1927. Numberous guests have seen entities here, even the ghost of Marilyn Monroe, which is said to haunt a particular mirror from time to time.

    Tom and Lisa Butler, tapped by Universal after White Noise's completion, are respected experts in the field of EVP study. Mrs. Butler enhanced "medium-like" abilities allow the team to seek out and capture EVPs by going directly to the source rather than testing randomly.

    The duo went through several EVP recording techniques using digital hand-held recorders (pictured right) and computer audio enhancement. The exact same techniques can not only be performed by the novice, but are also featured heavily on the White Noise DVD which includes dozens of actual examples and, more importantly, a step-by-step guide on what you need to start capturing EVPs.

    | Articles: copyright, 2005 |