White Noise (film)

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White Noise
White Noise movie.jpg
Promotional poster
Directed by Geoffrey Sax
Produced by Paul Brooks
Written by Niall Johnson
Starring Michael Keaton
Deborah Kara Unger
Mike Dopud
Ian McNeice
Chandra West
Keegan Connor Tracy
Music by Claude Foisy
Cinematography Chris Seager
Edited by Nick Arthurs
Production
company
Distributed by Universal Pictures
Release dates
  • January 7, 2005 (2005-01-07)
Running time 101 minutes
Country Canada
United Kingdom
United States
Language English
Budget $10 million
Box office $91,196,419

White Noise is a 2005 supernatural thriller film, directed by Geoffrey Sax. The title refers to electronic voice phenomena (EVP), where voices, which some believe to be from the "other side", can be heard on audio recordings. The film is not related to the postmodern novel White Noise by Don DeLillo.

The movie did surprisingly well at the box office despite generally poor reviews from both critics and audiences. This success led Universal and other studios to realize that there was an underserved audience for horror films released in January, and begin releasing higher-quality horror films such as Cloverfield during that period, usually dismissed as the winter dump months of the movie calendar.

Plot[edit]

Jonathan Rivers (Michael Keaton) is a successful architect and lives a peaceful life with his wife Anna (Chandra West) until her unexpected disappearance. Eventually, he is contacted by Raymond Price (Ian McNeice), who claims that his own son had also died. He says he has recorded messages from Anna through electronic voice phenomena (EVP). While Jonathan is initially dismissive and angered, he later learns about his wife's tragic drowning. Desperate, he begins to believe that the recorded voice is indeed that of his wife. Jonathan becomes obsessed with trying to contact her himself, despite warnings from a psychic, Mirabelle Keegan (Keegan Connor Tracy), who tries to tell him how the recording can attract other, unwanted entities. A woman named Sarah Tate (Deborah Kara Unger), who also came to Raymond for his EVP work because she lost her fiancé, befriends Jonathan.

Raymond is found dead. Jonathan begins to be followed by three demons attracted by his obsession with EVP, and finds that some of the messages he is coming across are from people who are not yet dead, but may soon be. Jonathan hears cries from a woman who he finds in a car with a child. He is able to save the child, but not the woman. At that woman's funeral, which Jonathan and Sarah both attend, Jonathan approaches the husband and tells him about what happened. The latter thanks Jonathan for saving his son but then asks to be left alone. The husband continues to tell Jonathan to stay away from him and his family. Afterwards, Jonathan sees images of another person, a missing woman named Mary Freeman, while working with his EVP devices. Sarah is later seriously injured by a fall from a balcony while possessed by the demons, that incident which was foreshadowed by Sarah's image being among those on the EVP devices.

Jonathan locates the site of his wife's death by following signs on recordings and he also finds his wife's abandoned car. Jonathan finds a set of computers and electronic equipment on site. A construction worker (Mitchell Kosterman) from his company, who has been doing his own EVP work, is holding Mary captive, he who has been under the control of the demons to kill all these people, including Anna. The three demons torture Jonathan by breaking his arms and legs and cause him to fall to his death, but a SWAT team along with Detective Smits (Mike Dopud) arrives and are able to save Mary by shooting the construction worker dead. After his funeral, Jonathan's voice can be heard on the radio through static interference saying "I'm sorry" to his son. The child recognizes the voice and smiles. Sarah, at the graveside in a wheelchair, is menaced by odd noises. And right before the credits roll in the camera flashes to a TV where Jonathan and his wife are visible.

Reception[edit]

The film was panned by critics, with a 8% rating at Rotten Tomatoes.[1] Despite this, the film was a financial success, making back over nine times its $10 million budget.

Cast[edit]

Sequel[edit]

A sequel titled White Noise: The Light was released in January 2007.

Legacy[edit]

White Noise's surprising box-office success for a movie released on the first weekend after New Year's Day, the start of the winter dump months and usually one of the worst weekends for new releases, led studios to reassess their releasing strategies for horror films. "The first weekend in January used to be a non-starter for people; we had this little horror movie White Noise that did business, and that has become a place where movies [like] that tend to operate." Universal chairman Adam Fogelson told critic Anne Thompson during a 2013 indieWIRE panel discussion.[2]

If a horror film as poorly received as White Noise could nevertheless make a significant amount of money in January, studios realized, a quality film in that genre could do even better. The following year, an elaborate viral marketing campaign gave Paramount's found footage horror film Cloverfield a $40 million opening weekend, which remained the record for January until Ride Along in 2014. In 2012 Paramount beat White Noise's first-weekend success with The Devil Inside, which took in $35 million despite a strongly negative reaction from critics and audiences. "Ever since White Noise was a hit in 2005, that’s what started it. If you look back at every first weekend, besides expanding titles, the only new release is usually one crappy horror movie," C. Robert Cargill of Ain't It Cool News told Hollywood.com in 2013.[3]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

External links[edit]