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White Noise


Latest Home Video

May 16, 2005

MPAA Rating:



Michael Keaton

Ian McNeice


2005 Universal Studios

Still shot from the movie: White Noise.

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Overall C
Run Time

Making the Grades

For years, horror films have tried to convince you that ordinary things in life are actually scary beyond belief. In Signs it was wind chimes, in The Ring it was an old VHS tape, for Hitchcock fans it's birds and showers. Now, thanks to the release of this film, you won't want to be lingering between stations on your radio.

The term "white noise" refers to an equal distribution of frequencies across the audio spectrum. Huh? OK… it's that SHHHHHH sound your TV makes when it is set to a vacant channel (although most new sets go quiet now) or when your FM radio is between stations. Even waterfalls can create white noise.

But while most of us react by screaming "Turn that noise off!", there are a few convinced this sound is the perfect backdrop for hearing messages from the dead. Just listen long and hard, perhaps for days, and you may discover what your great-grandmother really thought of your choice for a spouse. Better yet, stare at those sparkly dots on the television for a while and the faces of those who have passed on may glance by.

In reality, there truly is an organization dedicated to researching this strange occurrence, dubbed EVP for Electronic Voice Phenomena. Their website,, claims they are the basis of the plot for this film, in which Michael Keaton's character Jonathan Rivers, desperately tries to communicate with his recently deceased wife after an EVP specialist (Ian McNeice) convinces him she's trying to send a message from the beyond.

A few days later, the architect has filled his home with hissing televisions, VCRs, and other electronics, in the hopes of seeing or hearing anything. With what seems like weeks going by, it's hard to believe Jonathan still has a job and child welfare services haven't picked up his neglected son. But just when this looks like a hopeless activity, all heaven breaks loose, and the widower has more channels to the dearly departed than a cable TV junkie has movies.

Full of typical scenes of dark and stormy nights, and fleeting images of who-knows-what, the movie White Noise pulls all the usual "made you jump" levers. Things also get a little gruesome after a woman falls from a balcony onto a glass roof and another man succumbs to some heavy viewing when it appears his television has fallen on top of him. Other parental concerns include an unknown drug provided to a female in an attempt to make her an easy target for a visiting spirit, and a few profanities including a sexual expletive.

Obviously, families who don't want kids exploring paranormal issues will consider the entire theme of this film to be unacceptable. Yet, even though it's likely to scare young ones, adults may find themselves yawning. From a thriller standpoint, the conclusion doesn't do much to help things gel together into one of those, "Oh, now I get it!" moments. Instead, you're left wondering what you missed in this movie that makes more noise than sense.

Discussion Ideas After The Movie

Teaching ideas and topics to discuss about White Noise.

Because this film may inspire a curiosity for researching methods of contacting the dead, parents should be prepared to discuss these topics.

Canadian Movie Ratings

14A Frightening Scenes
AB PG May Frighten Young Children, Some Coarse Language
MB PG Frightening Scenes-----
ON 14A Disturbing Content
QC 13+

Canadian Home Video Rating: 14A

Watch @ Home

Details on home video releases of White Noise...

Universal Studios presents WHite Noise on DVD, with an earful of featurettes titled: Hearing is Believing: Actual E.V.P. Sessions, Making Contact: E.V.P. Experts, and a Recording the Afterlife at Home Guide. If you’re still dying for more, you may also watch the deleted scenes. Just don’t pause too long in those blank SHHHH spots between the extras…

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