White Noise 2
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White Noise 2

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The general rule of thumb concerning sequels is they are rarely as good as the original. Of course, there are the notable exceptions such as ‘the Godfather II’ and ‘Aliens.’ Still, more often than not the rule works. With this in mind, I have to admit that I didn’t have high hopes for White Noise 2, after all, the original ‘White Noise’ back in 2005 was lackluster. I was pleasantly surprised that this sequel managed to rise above its dubious predecessor and deliver a solid piece of entertainment. For those that had the good fortune of missing the first flick, it had to do with a man who lost his wife only to discover he could communicate with the dead through the static or white noise in most electronic devices. ‘White Noise 2’ is saved, to some degree, by the fact that it is this is a sequel in name only. It got rid of the irritating nonsense with the electronic noise and attempted to humanize the plot. Now it’s not that this is a great movie, make no mistake about that, but it holds together better than the first flick. This is due to a more cohesive plot and superior direction. It falls apart in the third act, but,t that does seem to be a large problem now.

When you consider the genre, horror films and thrillers tend to avoid reality as often as possible. You need a story that is believable enough to hold together, but the writers do expect that the audience will suspend belief long enough to get through the movie. This is the case here. The plot has more holes in it than a wheel of Swiss cheese. At times it feels as if a tunneling machine was drive through the story. What is required in a movie of this type is to play a few mind games with the audience and give them a scare on a regular basis? This film does this far better than you might think. After so many years of thrilling an audience almost every technique and the situation has been explored so there are some aspects of the movie that rightfully can be said are not original. What is novel is the manner of presentation. The film will hold your attention and on occasion keep you on the edge of your seat. It may have done better if another title could be used. The film is often called ‘White Noise 2: The Light’. Dropping the white noise part of the name and sticking with ‘The Light’ would have had the audience think more of ‘Poltergeist.’ Instead, the studio went with the faux sequel route.

The film begins with a cheery statistic that during your day you are likely to encounter 1.7 people who will die that day. This comes from the ‘North American Statistics Institute’ which doesn’t have a presence on the web so take this figure with a large grain of salt. Another statistic from the equally dubious ‘National Center for Mortality Studies’ comes up with 774 near death experiences per day. I guess this is to add a little bit of reality to the film and help set the mood. Abe Dale (Nathan Fillion) is a man who loves his family. As he sits in his bathrobe on the lawn with his wife Rebecca (Kendall Cross) their young son Danny (Joshua Ballard) plays nearby. The couple sits in the early morning sun and exchanges their ninth anniversary presents. Abe receives a watch from his adoring wife. Rebecca is not feeling well so instead of her making breakfast Abe takes them all to a local diner. As mom seems to be getting worse, Danny no is feeling ill. Rebecca starts to shake with a look of terror on her face, Danny equally afraid starts to rock back and forth. Abe wants to take them home immediately, but Rebecca drops her plate trying to get up. A man who just walked in, Henry Caine (Craig Fairbrass) looks ominously on. Caine pulls out a gun and empties it into the mother and child as Abe looks on in total shock. Caine turns the gun towards Abe, tells him he is sorry and blows his brains out. There is nothing like a thriller that gets right into it.

Three months later and Abe is still reeling from the horrible experience. He talks to his friend, Marty Bloom (Adrian Holmes) trying to make sense of it all and wondering why Caine didn’t kill him as well. Abe spirals into a depression fuels by alcohol and home movies of his once happy family. Despondent he adds a bottle of pills to the mix and passes out in front of the static on the television set. Abe left a suicide note as his outgoing phone message and Marty calls. He rushes over and gets Abe to the hospital. Abe clinically dies on the examination table seeing a tunnel and bright white light with his wife and son waiting for him before he is pulled back from death. In the hospital, he is cared for by his nurse, Sherry Clarke (Katee Sackhoff). It turns out that Sherry had also lost her own family and did what she can to help Abe cope with his grief. The physician attending Abe is Dr. Karros (William MacDonald) who specializes in near-death experiences. Abe notices a white aura surrounding the doctor. Karos dismisses it as a side effect of Abe’s recent experience. Once out of the hospital Abe notices that white aura is surrounding several more people. Karros explains to Abe that the dead have been known to communicate with the living through the white noise of electrical devices and he has applied for a grant to study it. Okay, we have the tie in with the first flick. Abe is freaked out when he sees a newspaper reporting the death of a woman he saw with an aura in the park. It begins to dawn on Abe that he can tell people who are about to die. On several occasions, Abe saves people with the auras from death and watches as the aura disappears. He continues to see strange things on television sets and the auras around people. He even manages to save Sherry from being knifed to death by a mugger. The final part of the setup unfolds as Abe begins to investigate what has been happening. It turns out that Caine had saved Rebecca and Danny’s lives three days before supposedly, when someone who is supposed to die is saved, you have to kill them within 72 hours, or innocent people will take their place.

Director Patrick Lussier is no stranger to horror sequels. He helmed ‘The Prophecy 3: The Ascent’ as well as ‘Dracula 2000’ and its two subsequent sequels. He goes a long way toward saving this movie with is adroit technical skills. He gives a little tease at the beginning of the movie and then turns down the heat to let things simmer nicely. What has become the standard in most thrillers is to try to keep the action up non-stop. Lussier has the good sense and talent to give the audience a little time to digest things; lulling them into thinking they know what will happen next before springing something on them. The cinematography also adds dimension and mood to the movie setting it above most of the pack.

This one does have a bit of stunt casting, but in this case, it can be forgiven. The two main leads target the Sci-Fi Channel views. Nathan Fillion is a strong, talented actor who has a natural sense of dry humor as well as the ability to connect with his audience. He is best known for his lead roles in the cult classic ‘Firefly’ and the horror comedy ‘Slither.’ Here he takes on a far more dramatic part with ease. He is the kind of actor who the audience can identify with on an emotional level. Katee Sackhoff is one of the best things that have happened to television science fiction in decades. She has main roles in the widely popular ‘Battlestar Galactica’ and the stuck in limbo ‘Bionic Woman.’ In this film she shows a softer side of her acting ability and that she can do great in a role where she is not kicking somebody’s butt. The two have great chemistry here.

Universal Studios scores another hit with the way they release this film to DVD. They have three ways to get this one; Pan & Scan, DVD widescreen, and HD-DVD. Okay, we won’t even discuss the P&S. The other two feature an anamorphic 2.35:1 video that has exceptional color balance and contrast, extremely important considering the shadowy figures that abound here. The Dolby 5.1 audio mix is very well done. The rear speakers give a realistic backfill to the sound field. There are four extras provided to expand your journey beyond the grave. First, there is some routine deleted scenes. Next, you get a featurette that provides interviews with real people that have had near-death experiences. There is a better than average behind the scenes featurette and a tour with Fillion and a paranormal specialist of the mental hospital featured in the film. Forget the previous White Noise and get this one, it is spooky and fun.

Posted 01/03/08            Posted   06/25/2018

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