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Overall Rating

Awesome: 0%
Worth A Look: 2%
Average: 26%
Pretty Bad: 27%
Total Crap45%

10 reviews, 40 user ratings

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White Noise
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by Scott Weinberg

"From the makers of 'Dead Rabbit Ears' & 'Test Pattern: The Movie'!"
2 stars

Despite this film's moodily bombastic advertising campaign, which dryly implies that "White Noise" is the scariest thing in many a moon, it will take less than fifteen minutes of running time before three things happen: 1. You get bored, 2. You start to wonder why the excellent Michael Keaton would choose THIS errant chaff as his "lead performance comeback," and 3. You start checking off your mental checklist of thriller cliches, tropes and stereotypes. And then the end credits hit the screen and you can go home.

I was alternately bored and annoyed throughout the whole of White Noise, but I still hope people like it enough to make the flick an early-year mini-hit. Why? Because a solid moneymaker is what Michael Keaton could really use at this point of his career, and I hope the guy gets it. If White Noise ultimately exists as a springboard for Mike's 'comeback,' then that's just fine by me.

The movie itself? Pretty darn bad.

We open with one of those amazingly sunny moments that telegraphs the entire film in 30 simple seconds: Successful architect John Rivers, played consistently well by Mr. Keaton, wakes up to a gorgeous (and young) wife who is all but over-percolating with stunning smiles, killer curves, and news of an unexpected pregnancy. Hmmm, wonder where this young lass is headed....

Yep, tragedy central. The ethereally beautiful (and YOUNG) little wife has a roadside accident and is assumed dead by all interested parties. Rivers also has an adorable little baby son from a previous marriage, but since the tot has virtually no bearing whatsoever on the film's plot, we'll just assume he's there for background filler and an occasional "Awwwww!!!" from the mommies in the audience. John's missing wife is downgraded from 'definitely missing' to 'unquestionably dead' over the course of a toothless first act...and then comes the "scary stuff."

John realizes that he's being followed by a very obvious (and very fat) Englishman. After confronting the polite stalker, John learns that his newly-dead (young) wife has been "communicating" from the "other side." To a complete and total stranger. Through television static. As is always the case in predictable potboilers like White Noise, our hero is quite skeptical at first. And then suddenly...he's not.

Basically, White Noise feels like the answer to Movie Thriller Formula #323: A big dose of The Sixth Sense mixed liberally with pinches of The Ring, Final Destination, The Forgotten, Frequency and any other PG-13ish "psychological thriller" that people see and promptly forget. (Oh yeah, Dragonfly, too!) It's the kind of "thriller" that exists solely for people who don't really want to be scared. It's a horror movie for the elderly. Psychologically, the conceit doesn't work because, well, the "static ghosts" (a "real-life" phenomenon called EVP, by the way) are more silly than they are intimidating. The whole concept is Twilight best.

So if all you're left with is a hard-working lead actor mired in a painfully predictable narrative, your next option is to amp up the fake scares. John sits in a quiet room staring at a TV full of static before -boom- some shocking jolt of visual gimmickry or shrieking musical cue awakens you from your boredom-induced stupor. When White Noise isn't being astronomically derivative, it's clumsily obvious. Minor characters wander into the plot and then vanish forever. Newly introduced characters are presented like we should know them already. And, aside from John Rivers, not one of these characters actually DO anything!

On top of all that: the ending makes no sense, various plot holes are left dangling throughout, the flick is edited with little regard for story cohesion or the maintenance of tension... "White Noise" is a high-concept IDEA that could have made for a workable little horror flick, but (aside from Michael Keaton's better-than-the-material-deserves performance) the end product is a film that's astonishingly drab, aimlessly meandering and entirely beholden to earlier cinematic successes. "Haunted static" indeed. Somewhere Stephen King is slapping his forehead at the missed opportunity.

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originally posted: 01/07/05 17:21:27
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User Comments

9/19/13 Marmite I was 90% sure I hated this movie before the climax. I ended up 200% sure. 1 stars
4/11/10 Andrew, Amy and Gaelan shite, shite and more shite. The ending was terrible! I've never said WTF as much! 1 stars
11/27/09 Martin Smith I liked the concept but thought the characters were weak and pointless 3 stars
9/03/08 Shaun Wallner Ugg boring!! 2 stars
3/31/08 Raika Any chance those three ghosts can attack the director? 1 stars
10/24/07 Ivana Mann The ending was the biggest WTF moment in the history of American cinema.Absolute poo! 1 stars
8/19/06 Beau pointless scenes, lacked scary themes and trash that should neva have made it to the cinema 1 stars
8/14/06 Sharon its sucks!!! they should have never made this movie I wasted my time and $7!!! I hate it!! 1 stars
4/30/06 Ben W I was a bit clueless, I really wanted to know who the three ghosts were. 2 stars
3/27/06 Doremimi Would someone please cast Michael Keaton in a decent movie? This is getting ridiculous. 1 stars
1/28/06 chris f good movie worth watching 4 stars
1/03/06 Wiseman it was good half of the begining, But what the hell was the end all about? dumb as hell! 1 stars
11/07/05 Count Blah I want the wasted time back. I could have slept instead. . . . 1 stars
9/20/05 Mickey This is like watching a foreign film with no subtitles!! 1 stars
9/02/05 Teh Gret one I really didn't get who was the guy in the chicken suit? Poo movie LOL111111111111 1 stars
7/25/05 Eric Rollins Poltigeist treated this subject more effectively, but it has it's moments. 3 stars
7/06/05 Indrid Cold The story is somewhat weak and unsatisfying, but not bad overall. 3 stars
7/03/05 kanga311 It totally left me hanging. Glad I didn't spend $10 at the theater to see it! 2 stars
6/09/05 camille What was that about? 2 stars
6/08/05 Darryl Watched this same night as "Boogeyman" and this wasn't as scary. 3 stars
6/05/05 Monday Morning Don't waste your time except to ogle Deborah Unger, an ultrababe if I ever saw one. 1 stars
5/25/05 Bart michael keaton is THIS desperate?? I mean..did he even READ the absurd ending? Kill me now! 2 stars
5/24/05 Doug Awfully done, yet by the end you'll be too ANGRY to laugh at it. 2 stars
5/23/05 Victor Meldrew What the hell was that ending all about?! I just didn't understand it! 1 stars
5/23/05 Tammy Horrible film too confusing to be interesting 1 stars
5/20/05 Christy Schultz Look at all the time I will never get back 1 stars
5/19/05 wendy rogers This movie started out ok and then the ending got alittle crazy. It was ok overall. 3 stars
5/19/05 ad could be worse i guess 2 stars
4/15/05 shatonjia Am I allowed to sue for false advertising on a movie preview? 1 stars
2/08/05 Richard Linxwiler Liked it, a scary movie with an actual plot. 4 stars
2/06/05 Real This was a really bad movie. The end totally sucks. 1 stars
1/30/05 Christine It was an okay movie 3 stars
1/29/05 clarance the cobra LICKS BALLS 1 stars
1/28/05 New Jersey Rules There hasn't been a good horror movie since The Blair Witch. 1 stars
1/14/05 Al Guy Not scary. The ad was scarier. 2 stars
1/11/05 Aaron Brown Has its flaws but is still an okay movie. 3 stars
1/09/05 Steve Michaud Staggeringly inept; devoid of chills, atmosphere, logic, or entertainment value 1 stars
1/09/05 Meryl As a student of EVP...this made me weep. Television static? WTF? 2 stars
1/08/05 Kristina Williams Batman sees dead people 3 stars
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  07-Jan-2005 (PG-13)
  DVD: 17-May-2005



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