5 March 2008 | gregsrants
Do you even remember White Noise? It was a January 2005 release that grossed a very surprising $24 million in its opening weekend ranking it second only to the mega-hit Meet the Fockers. Starring Michael Keaton (who had not had a hit since he hung up his bat cape some 12 years earlier), the movie was about a grieving husband whose wife is trying to contact him through EVP's Electronic Voice Phenomena.
Sure the movie grosses petered out in the weeks that lay ahead, but there was no escaping the EVP craze as everything from CNN to TLC had shows dedicated to the existence of the deceased communicating through television and radio frequencies.
Have memories of it or nay, there was no doubt that its $91 million worldwide take would generate an eventual sequel. Enter White Noise 2: The Light which went straight to DVD but deserves better in that it is a much spookier film than its predecessor.
White Noise 2 starts off by revealing that 'Nearly ten thousand people die every day in the United States, the majority of deaths occurring in urban environments. As such, a resident of a metropolis might encounter up to 1.7 people per day who will be deceased by the day's end. North American Statistics Institute 2002.' Barely do you have time to ingest these interesting words of ponder when we are introduced to the Dale Family Father Abe (Nathan Fillion of Serenity fame), Mother Rebecca (Kendall Cross) and their son Danny who are in the wrong diner at the wrong time when a shooter walks in and opens fire killing both Rebecca and Danny before turning the weapon on himself.
Abe takes the deaths hard (go figure!) and tries to take his own life with an overdose of pills that produces a NDE (Near Death Experience). After his release from hospital, Abe starts to hear and see "all sorts of electrical stuff" that has his attending doctor interested in investigating. Lucky for Abe, the good ole doctor just happens to have an EVP room that looks like a command center for NATO. In a matter of mere seconds, the doctor is able to determine that due to Abe's NDE that he is now an EVP receiver (keep up with the acronyms will ya'!).
It takes a great leap of faith to believe that Abe can now see people illuminated before they die or that television sets are sending him messages, but if you ignore the illogic behind the expressed phenomena, you might just be able to get through the film with more enjoyment than a straight to DVD release usually allows.
Seeing the original White Noise is not a pre-requisite to enjoying the sequel. There is no tie in to the first film and where the original story was a man's quest simply to understand EVP's and then his obsession exploit it to find his wife's killer, the White Noise 2: The Light spends more time with Abe running around acting as a superhero in the city saving people from impending death thanks to his visions of disastrous futures.
Although there are many reasons not to like White Noise 2, Nathan Fillion gives us a character so rich in turmoil and humor that his performance alone is worth spending a couple of bucks at the local rental shop. Even as the film takes a turn at about the 45 minute mark with a reveal that leads Abe to revisit the circumstances of his family's tragedy and his similarities with the killer, the film still maintains its eeriness.
White Noise 2 is directed by Patrick Lussier who directed three Dracula films and is in pre-production of the My Bloody Valentine remake (happy happy joy joy). Although no Carpenter hell he ain't no Joe Dante he does show promise in this production and is able to spook his audience without the use of gore. It will be interesting when he gets a script that holds better material than anything presently in his biography.
The ending of the film is something that might turn some from the recommending to the soon forgetting, but this is exactly the kind of film that they have been making in Japan for years that the western world keeps remaking.