White Noise

on January 07, 2005 by Christine James
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Thanks for the movie about people cursed to die after watching mysterious haunted video images, but we liked it better when it was called "Ringu." "White Noise" generates a number of boo! moments--the hiss-suffixed, vegetable-throwing kind. But mostly, like its namesake, it just puts you to sleep.

Michael Keaton continues his "Jack Frost"-induced career slide as Jonathan Rivers, whose ridiculously hot, young, sweet, sensitive, brilliant new wife Anna (Chandra West) dies under unusual circumstances. Jonathan's subsequently stalked (or, more accurately, trundled after) by the eccentric Raymond Price (Ian McNeice) and several of his chins; turns out Raymond can communicate with the dead and Anna's been talking to him.

Raymond shows Jonathan how he can pick up disembodied voices and images by tuning a TV to a staticy channel (who knew such a thing still existed in a digital cable world?), where the lack of signal allows it to be used as a portal to the other side. The visuals are vague and the sound almost inaudible (except for when the plot calls for it not to be). Still, Raymond has a steady stream of bereaved who come to him to retrieve comforting messages from their departed loved ones. However, it may not be the loved ones at all, but rather evil spirits who have made up some arbitrary rule that if you participate in undead communications you are fair game. (After two decades of providing his services, wouldn't Raymond notice a correlation between his client list and the daily obituaries?) At any rate, one could possibly go along with it all if there were some terrifying hauntings to accompany this barely explained hex; instead, we get to watch Michael Keaton scrutinizing snowy screens ad infinitum. An hour and a half of straight UHF would be more interesting. Starring Michael Keaton, Deborah Kara Unger, Ian McNeice and Chandra West. Directed by Geoffrey Sax. Written by Niall Johnson. Produced by Paul Brooks and Shawn Williamson. A Universal release. Thriller. Rated PG-13 for violence, disturbing images and language. Running time: 97 min

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