Posted: 01/12/2008

 

White Noise 2

(2008)

by Jef Burnham



Now available on DVD.


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Science fiction fan boys and girls rejoice as Nathan Fillion (Firefly’s Captain Mal Reynolds) and Katee Sackhoff (Battlestar Galactica’s Starbuck) team up in this sequel to the 2005 thriller that starred Michael Keaton. This straight-to-DVD release is, in fact, an improvement over its theatrically released predecessor, though still flawed in its own unique ways.

The subject of E.V.P. (Electronic Voice Phenomenon) and the appearance of spirits in the white noise of detuned televisions, which were the staples of White Noise, have little bearing on the sequel. After Abe Dale (Nathan Fillion) suffers a near-death experience, he discovers that he has become a detuned receiver of supernatural phenomenon, thereby eliminating the necessity for him to sit in front of blank screens for hours. The transmissions Abe receives come in the form of angry spirits, the occasional intrusion of white noise into his electronics, and a mysterious aura surrounding select individuals he encounters. Once he realizes that this aura is actually a warning of the person’s impending death, Abe becomes a reluctant super hero. Ultimately, he finds there are repercussions to his actions, since he has disrupted the natural order of things.

The film’s major flaw comes from the fact that it is a sequel in title only, since they never manage to effectively tie E.V.P. in with the rest of the story. It’s mentioned in passing and a doctor in the film says it is connected, but they never say how exactly. The film would have been more successful had they dropped the E.V.P. and given it a title in reference to the actual events of the film. Abe asks Biblical questions throughout the film, such as, “If Jesus returned on the third day, what does the devil do on the third day?” So why not, The Third Day, or something to that effect?

Otherwise, the film is passably enjoyable, retaining a significant level of spookiness without ever really scaring. Fillion is charming as usual, delivering a sympathetic performance with the slightest touch of the dry humor he is known for; and Sackhoff, who plays an incredible hard-ass on Battlestar Galactica, is bright and bubbly in her role as a widowed nurse who is saved by Abe, but, in truth, the character adds little to the film.

The DVD includes a number of special features including 12 deleted scenes, the Making of White Noise 2, and a short documentary on real-life near-death experiences. But the highlight of the special features is a short in which Nathan Fillion takes us on a hilarious tour through the supposedly haunted insane asylum much of the film was shot in, pointing out the places where they most likely performed lobotomies and shock therapy, as well as the most haunted rooms. “Ghosts are scary,” he confides. “We all know that… Insane ghosts? Insanely scary.”

Jef Burnham is a freelance writer and film critic in Chicago..



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