Friday, February 04, 2005


by Reymundo Salao
Just Another Film Junkie
The Guardian, February 5, 2005

Electronic Voice Phenomenon (EVP) is the process by which the dead can communicate with the living through the white noise of household electronic audio and video appliances. This is a ghost manifestation through radio and television, when phantomlike images appear in the middle of television static or a ghost's voice is heard through radio static. Such an occurrence is claimed by many experts as a fact that is actually studied by science and metaphysics. In the trailer for the film "White Noise" wherein EVP is given a brief explanation, some of the actual EVP recordings were presented. Audio recordings of the voices of individuals who already died before such recording was done.

EVP is the subject of the film "White Noise" which is directed by Geoffrey Sax and stars Ian McNeice, Deborah Kara Unger, and Michael Keaton. Although some aspects of the film are a bit cliché, the film works nicely, especially with Keaton's performance. Michael Keaton is one of those great actors that can evoke such strong emotions. The protagonist of the movie is Jonathan Rivers (played by Keaton) who was struck by tragedy when his wife died. And when he stumbles into the knowledge of such a study as EVP, he becomes all too interested with the process when he realized that such a phenomenon does work, and that he can communicate with his dead wife. Later on, his interest became an obsession as it took over his life. Rivers began to delve deeper into the supernatural darkness, which was already beyond his comprehension.

Moviegoers should expect that this movie is based on a factual phenomenon, so one must not expect the kind of menace that movies like the Ring or the Grudge can bring forth. The film plays more on the enigmatic suspense and mystery sensibilities. But indeed there are several tweaks and sweeteners to give the movie a bit more excitement and suspense. Those who are dead serious and curious of the study of EVP and the facts surrounding it, should expect that this film is not only about the study of EVP, but also of a protagonist whose loss is so bitter that it leads him down a dark path that he would surely regret.

Perhaps it is an offspring from the hype of Asian horror film genre, as some critics would point out, but "White Noise" is based on what already exists as a factual phenomenon, and that is what gives it its chilling factor.

Ever stayed up late watching TV and have had that paranoid thought what if the TV suddenly went out of frequency and all static, and then some ghastly figure appeared on the screen and a faint voice from the other side was heard through the audio? Oh the paranoid thoughts that comes to my mind after I watched this film.

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