White Noise

White Noise


Reviewed by: Martin Gray

Architect Jonathan Rivers is proving unable to rebuild his life after his novelist second wife Anna disappears. He mopes, he neglects his weekend son Mike, he moves into a truly soulless apartment (typical architect). He hangs on to the hope that her story isn't over until a stranger, Raymond Price, insists Anna is dead - he's had a message from her on Radio Beyond.

It seems the dead aren't content to pass over into the next life and wait for those left behind to catch them up. Sometimes they hang around, trying to pass on messages via de-tuned radio sets or, if they're really adept, blank videotapes. At first sceptical, Jon is soon convinced and buys the technology that will let him scan for more of Anna's after-last words. Sadly, it isn't just the nice ghosties who want to get in touch and Jon hears terrifying spirits cursing the living. That's where most of us would hurriedly tune our sets to something marginally less creepy, like Virgin Radio.

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But he's addicted and continues to monitor the airwaves. Then Jon's nightmare really begins :

I'll pack in the precis there - if you're a fan of spooky movies you'll already have an idea where this is going, so get to the cinema and find the devil in the detail. This is satisfying stuff, with a tense script that delivers the requisite amount of jumpy bits while hanging on to just enough reality to make the truly outlandish moments stand out. The performances are strong all round, but it's basically Keaton's show, with a more restrained turn than usual - for once he's not the ghost, the houseguest from hell, the creature of the night. He's just a man desperate to recapture the tiniest amount of the love he lost, our anchor in a world where the shadows are never far from the sun.

Britain's own Ian McNeice convinces as a man who's been where Keaton was, and found a measure of peace, while Deborah Kara Unger cleverly sketches in her part as a believer who nevertheless knows where to draw the line.

It's refreshing to see a horror whose shocks are generated via sound, shadowy figures and the viewer's imagination, a la such classics as the original version of The Haunting, rather than showy CGI.

All this and a very appropriate wee cameo on Mike's TV by a trio of cartoon characters who made their big screen debut a few years back.

Reviewed on: 11 Jan 2005
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Keep that frequency clear... or you risk dead air.
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Director: Geoffrey Sax

Writer: Niall Johnson

Starring: Michael Keaton, Deborah Kara Unger, Ian McNeice, Chandra West, Sarah Strange, Mike Dopud, Nicholas Elia

Year: 2005

Runtime: 98 minutes

BBFC: 15 - Age Restricted

Country: Canada, UK, USA


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