White Noise - The Light (2007)

Almost exactly two years ago, the first White Noise movie was released. It was greeted with general apathy -- and justifiably so, because it was rubbish. So the fact that someone saw fit to greenlight a sequel is pretty mind-boggling, though not as mind-boggling as the fact that White Noise 2 is actually not all that bad. It's certainly better than the first instalment.

Opting to forget all the ridiculous pseudo-technobabble that plagued the first movie, White Noise 2 uses the tried and tested I-see-dead-people technique instead. Brief lip service is paid to Electronic Voice Phenomena, but while the first movie was based on the premise that the dead use electronic signals to communicate with the living, White Noise 2 skips all that nonsense. Its lead character has the ability to see ghosts straight off the bat, meaning he doesn't have to spend half the movie staring at a TV screen: being stupid enough to record his suicide note on his answering machine means that Abe Daly doesn't quite manage to off himself before the paramedics show up. After his near death experience, Abe (the ever-likeable Nathan Fillion) starts to see a strange white aura surrounding some people. Apparently, he's managed to turn himself into an untuned receiver of unearthly signals -- and through a series of outlandish coincidences, he realises the light he's seeing indicates those people are marked for death. With nothing better to do with his time, Abe decides to play superhero and save them from their grisly fates.

And then it all goes a bit Final Destination 2.

Turns out, y'see, that Death doesn't like his plans messed with. Actually, White Noise 2 goes a bit further and gets God and the Devil involved. However, most of the religious stuff is confined to one over-long, ham fisted scene where key plot points are scribbled in notebooks for the camera to linger over long enough that a one-eyed dyslexic who wasn't even paying that much attention could have read them. Twice. One half-hearted plot twist, one fallen piano and an awkwardly side-stepped child massacre later, the film races through a preposterously overblown ending (with shades of The Eye) and it's all over.

White Noise 2's saving grace is that it's never boring. Even when the ominous music is failing miserably to amp up non-existent tension; even when you think no-one on earth could possibly be that stupid, the film still manages to keep your attention. Daft though it is, there's a sort of internal logic to proceedings that just about holds together. The scares are formulaic and obvious, but that doesn't mean that they don't sometimes work.

This is an outrageously stupid movie, to the point of insulting the viewer's intelligence; but, nevertheless, it's entertaining, it rattles along quickly enough not to outstay its welcome, and it never quite takes itself too seriously. Much of that is probably due to Nathan Fillion, and there are a couple of nods to his earlier career that make it clear the sci-fitastic casting wasn't accidental; but it works.

Just about.

IMDB link


Chris Green said...

Excellent review!

Definitely sounds like an improvement over the first White Noise film (which along with Code 46 stole hours of my life that could have been used for good, like telling small gullible children that Santa is going to kill them on Christmas night if they wake up).

However, not sure if it is worth a paid-for cinema visit. Could be one for an Orange Wednesday, or a VUE voucher visit, but only if I've exhausted every other viewing option.

soulmining said...

I think this was another film that purely got dubbed White Noise 2 by the marketing bods (in the same way Adrift became Open Water 2 in some countries), it bears no relation to the first film at all... Quite agree it is daft, but the plot just about hangs together and it doesn't outstay its welcome - 2 stars from me, and only worth seeing if there's nothing better on (aka an Unlimited card special)