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White Noise

Title: White Noise

Director: Vinta Nanda

Stars: Michael Keaton, Deborah Kara Unger, et al.

Reviewer: Matt Eccles

Rating (out of 10): 2


Michael Keaton has been absent from our cinema screens for some while, partly because, he says, there has been a dearth of good scripts coming his way. If we grant that his choices are usually fairly astute, it is then all the more baffling why he got involved in this daft, incoherent supernatural snoozefest.

Keaton is an architect whose successful writer wife perishes in a car crash. He's approached by a man who says he has been contacted by her via Electronic Voice Phenomenon (which this film erroneously asserts has scientific respectability) through a de-tuned radio. After the mandatory initial skepticism, Keaton believes his wife is indeed attempting to reach him, so spends long hours recording the static between radio and TV channels. Eventually a breakthrough is made, and he acts on needlessly ambiguous tip-offs given by his wife to prevent deaths of strangers before they happen. He is aided by a fellow-believer who lost her partner, while his young son, watching cartoons in the lounge, serves no useful purpose to the story whatsoever.

White Noise lacks every attribute required to make this sort of film compelling. Apart from a threadbare plot, it lacks tension, suspense and credibility in equal measure. Keaton's performance is as bland as the static his character tediously scrutinizes. However, none of this prepares you for the laughably feeble climax, which, as well as feeling like it was pasted in from another film, somehow manages to be even sillier than everything that preceded it. Indeed, the most mysetrious and scary thing about this ill-judged ghost story is that it topped the UK box office; surely the enduring popularity of Oriental chillers and their Hollywood re-makes (such as The Ring) offers the only plausible explanation.

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