STUDIO: Universal
MSRP: $29.98 RATED: PG-13
RUNNING TIME: 98 mins.

• Deleted Scenes
• Hearing is Believing: Actual E.V.P. Sessions
• Making Contact: E.V.P. Experts
• Recroding the Afterlife at Home guide

If I was dead, and you recorded my otherworldly voice on a blank audio tape, and I was talking about the Michael Keaton film White Noise, and you used advanced computer technology to separate my signal from background noise, and you spent hours figuring out what my series of hisses and guttural noises meant, you would hear, “Holy shit, this is one fucking stupid movie.”

The Flick

Michael Keaton’s wife dies. He and his son are totally bummed out by this turn of events. Soon, a strange man shows up and tells Keaton that his wife has been trying to contact him from the Other Side, using the medium of static hisses captured on tape. Keaton is quickly converted to believing that EVP – Electronic Voice Phenomenon – is a real thing and that the dead are using it to communicate with the living. Working with a visibly ashamed Debra Kara Unger, he starts receiving warnings from the dead and acts on them to save people. But meanwhile, for reasons that no one wants to make clear, evil spirits are coming through the transmissions and… oh, I don’t care.

The best selling book about having the cable guy come.

White Noise is sort of a bargain. It’s not just one bad film, it’s a number of bad films, all rolled into one. One bad film is about a guy’s obsessive behavior in investigating EVP. Another bad film is about dead people giving a guy assignments to save people. Yet another bad film is about a serial killer. It’s impressive that the movie manages to shoehorn all of these story elements in and yet still be stunningly boring.

What’s really weird about White Noise is how it’s a PG13 movie that’s safe for the teen date crowd (nothing yucky, all the scares are of the loud noise jump variety) but it’s chock full of old people. How did this film become a hit, however minor? Will the teen date crowd turn out for a movie chock full of has-beens and never-weres if it’s marketed well? Probably, and White Noise is the best example yet of marketing and strong opening mixed with a low budget to create a hit yet. It’s the way of the future, this stupid and lean and cheap movie, which has much more thought put into its marketing than into its story or its characters.

"What?!? This guy didn’t like a movie I am looking forward to? Time to send dozens upon dozens of angry emails."

In the end White Noise is a harmless movie. It’s the kind of film that’s too easy to ignore – you put it on your DVD player and suddenly find yourself nose deep in the encyclopedia entry about molluscum, which is infinitely more interesting. So perhaps that’s the positive aspect of this film – it will drive you to find something more interesting and educational to do.

3.0 out of 10

The Look

White Noise is presented in pristine widescreen, with deep blacks and endless imagery of people listening to hissing static and being otherwise stunningly boring.

9.0 out of 10

The Noise

The sound quality on display is flawless – you too will be able to pick out messages, warnings and old Vaudeville routines in the staticy sounds that pass for pop music in the world of White Noise. And since the only scare tactic this film has in its arsenal is the SUDDEN LOUD NOISE, the excellent sound quality is necessary.

9.0 out of 10

Michael Keaton is terrified by yet drawn to this strange ticking thing.

The Goodies

White Noise actually has a pretty solid set of bonus features. EVP is a real – or at least really believed in – phenomenon, and the DVD has some documentaries about it and some footage of people partaking in the endeavour. And if you thought that people tape recording silence was boring, you ain’t seen nothing yet!

But it’s really too bad – EVP is a fascinating thing. You CAN hear stuff on some of these tapes, but that really is just the beginning. Is it spirit communication or is it some interesting aspect of the way that our all too human senses work? The documentaries here don’t explore that at all.

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If he squinted really hard, Michael Keaton could just make out the scrambled Playboy Channel.

The commentary, with Michael Keaton and director Geoffrey Sax is sort of hilarious. These guys have no idea that they have made a terrible film. There are actually parts where Michael Keaton laments his acting – how does he pick one scene over another? Over and over again they admire the film, which I think makes them the only two guys to ever do so.

8.3 out of 10

The Artwork

It’s a schooner!

Whoa, here’s something this movie got right. The cover of the DVD is the striking and spooky screaming static dude. This is the best thing here.

9.0 out of 10

Overall: 4.0 out of 10