White Noise (HD-DVD)

January 28, 2012 6 Min Read

Review by: Fusion3600

Plot: What’s it about?

Jonathan Rivers (Michael Keaton) seems to have it all, a loving wife, a dedicated son, and an incredible job, a life most would dream of. But his once perfect life is soon turned upside down when his wife Anna (Chandra West) is involved in a car accident and vanishes. While Jonathan holds out hope that Anna will turn up alive, that hope is crushed when her body is discovered and his world is spun into chaos. As he grieves over his loss, he is approached by a man who claims to have gotten messages from Anna, from beyond the grave. Jonathan is hesitant to believe this despite his current condition, but then he hears his wife’s voice in static, an event known as EVP. He soon meets another with a recent loss like his own, but things take a dark turn once they explore this world of EVP. The other side begins to unleash dark powers and Jonathan soon learns he may have gone too far, but can he reverse his recent actions?

I couldn’t wait to see White Noise, as the previews were effective and seemed to promise an intense, chilling experience. But as happens so often, the finished product didn’t like up to the promises made. White Noise is not a terrible movie, but it fails to do what the audience wants and expects, which is deliver scares. This is a movie about voices from beyond the grave, so of course we want to be scared and as much as possible. The film’s atmosphere is eerie, but the filmmakers never commit and as a result, the terror is in minor doses. If Lifetime ever did a movie about EVP, this is probably pretty close to what that would resemble, just with better on screen talent in this one. White Noise isn’t bad, it just isn’t what it should be. So in the end, unless you’re dying for an EVP based movie, you can probably skip this or at best, give it a rental. For fans, this high definition release is impressive, with sufficient upgrades in video & audio to warrant a revisit.

Video: How does it look?

White Noise is presented in 2.35:1 anamorphic widescreen. This movie has a stylized visual design, one with muted colors and emphasis on certain hues. Even so, the image presented here is terrific and really shines. The image shows impressive depth, so detail is strong and stands out. I found detail to be a nice step up over the standard release, with subtle visible cues that add a lot to the experience. As I mentioned before, colors are skewed, but look as intended here, while contrast is rock solid and delivers even in the darkest sequences. So we have a marked improvement on all fronts, not the best high definition visuals out there, but a very impressive transfer.

Audio: How does it sound?

The audio doesn’t offer as drastic of an upgrade, but the Dolby TrueHD 5.1 option does provide a richer, more immersive presentation. I noticed more movement and more effective use of the surrounds, so before it was eerie, but now you feel surrounded at times, as the elements bounce all around your home theater. This sounds like a minor touch, but the added movement really brings a few scenes to life like never before. There is some additional power, but the mix relies on atmosphere, so don’t expect to blow the doors off. This disc also includes a Dolby Digital Plus 5.1 option, French and Spanish language tracks, and subtitles in English and French.

Supplements: What are the extras?

No new goodies, but the extras from the standard release have been ported over. Michael Keaton and director Geoffrey Sax offer a solid, but unremarkable audio commentary. Keaton’s perspective is welcome, as his anecdotes and stories go well with Sax’s more technical approach. Sax also offers his comments over a selection of deleted scenes, but you can also choose to listen to the original audio, which is nice. You can also watch three featurettes about the EVP phenomenon, but all are brief and offer a slight, not in depth look. You’d be better off spending your time elsewhere, as all three are just snippets and don’t provide much real insight into the eerie world of EVP.

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