White Noise (2005)

The Spirits Don’t Want You Here

You know what this is.  It’s the October Horror-thon.  We’re coming to a close on both October and the Horror-thon, so one might assume I’d be picking only my favorite horror movies to finish ‘er up.  Not the case, it turns out.  Not to say I hate today’s movie, but I also wouldn’t call it my favorite.  This movie is White Noise, directed by Geoffrey Sax, and starring Michael Keaton, Ian McNeice, Deborah Kara Unger, and Chandra West.

Jonathan Rivers (Michael “I’m Batman” Keaton) is a successful architect who lives with his wife Anna (Chandra West), at least until she stops with the living.  Shortly into the movie we get Jon back into the dating game by having his wife go missing and then be found dead by a VAN DOWN BY THE RIVER.  I don’t know if there was a van, but it seems like she slipped on some rocks and died.  Jon does not take it very well.  In the middle of his grieving period, a big fat dude by the name of Raymond Price (Ian McNeice) waddles over to him and tells him that he’s been in contact with his dead wife.  Jon tells him to fuck off, but Raymond gives him a card in case he changes his mind.  He does and Raymond introduces Jon to the wonders of Electronic Voice Phenomena, or EVP.  EVP also apparently means being able to see people in fuzzy TV screens like watching porn back in the day.  Shortly after that, Raymond is found dead, but strangely not from a heart attack or choking on a watermelon.  Raymond invests an ungodly amount of money into lots of EVP monitoring technology and starts receiving messages that he finds can lead him to people that will die soon and not people that have already dead.  He believes that Anna is trying to help him save people and will most likely never find out that he was mistaken in a violent and goofy way.

I actually kind of like this movie.  I say it that way because it has about a 9% on Rotten Tomatoes.  I think that’s a bit harsh.  While probably not making it within my top 20 horror movies, I think there’s a lot to like about this movie.  Since it’s October Horror-thon time, let’s talk scares.  I think this movie has a good couple.  It’s vaguely creepy but mostly relies on startles for it’s thrills.  And though I generally don’t like that kind of nonsense, I give this movie a pass.  I’m beginning to think that my affections towards horror movies is not so much about how it gets it’s scares, but the subject matter.  I can face it: I like ghosts.  I’ve also come to realize that this is completely irrational because it’s far more likely that I’ll get killed by a serial killer than a ghost.  But it is what it is.  The story of this movie is also pretty good.  It’s basically just a movie to introduce the general public to the EVP stuff, though it completely misinforms them simultaneously by having that include video in something with the word “voice” in it.  But I also feel that the movie is a good message about letting go.  Jon wouldn’t have gotten himself into such trouble if he had not been able to let go of his wife after she died.  Just to hear her voice again, he bought TV’s, computers, audio devices, a total nerd paradise of a room that he wasted on snowstorms and white noise.  On the other hand, he saved a couple lives with his obsession, so it’s hard to say if the message was worth getting.  I would, however, say that the ending did not sit right by me.  ::SPOILER ALERT::  He gets killed by 3 ghosts that had been telling a serial killer to kill random women, such as Jon’s wife.  Making the 3 ghosts suddenly able to kill people seemed to me like they wrote themselves into a corner and just threw it together to finish the movie off.  ::END SPOILER::

I also kind of liked the performances in this movie.  Michael Keaton had a much more emotional performance than I’ve ever seen him deliver, but since I had only seen him play Batman and Beetlejuice, I guess that makes sense.  But he did play the grieving widower very well.  Chandra West died pretty quickly, so not much to say about her.  Deborah Kara Unger didn’t really make much of an impression on me in this movie for some reason, and Ian McNeice only made an impression on the couch … ’cause he’s fat.  Actually he was decent, but I couldn’t deny a fat joke.  I almost feel bad.

My diagnosis?  Eh, I admit you can probably skip the movie.  But I like ghosts, so I dug on it.  If you like ghosts, check it out.  I won’t promise you’ll like it, but I will promise you’ll be an hour and a half older afterwards.  And Michael Keaton does put on a good performance that deserves to be seen.  I gives this movie “I’m Batman!” out of “Oops, wrong movie.”

Hey, peeps.  Why not rate and comment on this as a favor to good ole Robert, eh?  And tell your friends!  Lets make me famous!