Review: WHITE NOISE 2: THE LIGHT

Posted by Peter Hall - September 21st 2008 @ 12:10 pm

Directed by Patrick Lussier, 2007
Written by Matt Venne

I’ve never seen the Michael Keaton starring WHITE NOISE nor do I know much about it other than his wife dies and then TVs start to yell at him.  Or maybe it was his radio.  I don’t know, I just heard it sucked so I never got around to it.  This would explain why I was hesitant to get around to WHITE NOISE 2: THE LIGHT even despite it starring nerd bait actors Nathan Fillion and Katee Sackhoff.  Sometimes hesitance pays off in a nice, no-expectations kind of way.  No preconceived notions of plot or character, just a nice, blank slate to go into a film with.

I delight in confessing that I liked WHITE NOISE 2.  Liked it a lot, even.  Silly ending, sure, but a fine build, fine characters and an excellent plot.  Now I must warn you, if you’d like to go into the flawed, but rewarding WHITE NOISE 2 with as blank a slate as I did, stop reading at the end of this paragraph, because I am about to break down the plot for those still unconvinced that a PG-13 straight-to-DVD sequel to a so-so received PG-13 teen-targeted shocker can actually be pretty fucking cool.

Venne’s script tells the store of Abe Dale (Nathan Fillion), a man who after having recently lost his wife and son decides to swallow the largest bottle of prescription pills I have ever seen.  Abe is brought back from the brink of death, from that edge of white light separating his soul from his waiting family, awakening to the care of nurse Sherry (Sackhoff).  A doctor who specializes in Near Death Experiences gives Abe a breakdown of some of the fading phenomenon he may at first feel; seeing white auras around people, hearing sounds, etc etc.  Except in Abe’s case, the feelings don’t fade.  In fact, the people he sees bursting with a white light are ones marked for death.

Abe, realizing what the light means, sets out to save all those who bear it.  With such an agenda, WHITE NOISE 2 becomes an UNBREAKABLE-esque subversion of a superhero type.  Of course, belonging to this wonderful genre of ours, Venne is required to throw in a morbid twist.  After getting addicted to his new found heroism, Abe learns that on the third day of a saved person’s life they will snap, killing everyone around them.  Yep.  Sweet story, no?

Fillion is the backbone of the movie, proving that he can carry any material.  He doesn’t use his SLITHER funny bone grin or his “FIREFLY” space cowboy persona.  He is just a grieving man clinging to the one positive thing that came from the demise of his family.  Sackhoff’s part in the movie is a small one, actually, leaving the rest of WHITE NOISE 2 a one-man show.

Not all is perfect, naturally.  A few silly sequences mar the overall sheen of the film.  Notably when Abe discovers what is going on with the people he saves.  The whole bit is pointless.  Patrick Lussier could have saved 5 long minutes of screen time had he simply jumped to the obvious conclusion that the Devil was responsible rather than having Abe try to pull off some stupid Da Vinci Code paper work.  The ending is even more pointless.  Venne’s script was doing just fine, reaching a logical resolution, only to pull a RETURN OF THE KING and end one more time.  Except the tacked on ending is a comical special effects, laden mess.  It is as if someone, be it Lussier, Venne or a producer, thought the appropriate ending point just wasn’t wiz-bang enough.  Disappointing is what they ended up with.

Still, the rest of the movie is pleasing enough.  Fillion is his naturally cool self.  There are some decent thrills, some impressive imagery, an an inspired, unexpected storyline that may just be one of the more unique I’ve come across in the straight-to-DVD realm.  I have a feeling that WHITE NOISE 2 may have been an in-name-only sequel, that Venne had written this script and it just happened to fit in to the whole Near Death Experience agenda of the first film.  Or maybe he was hired to craft a new NDE scenario for the ‘sequel’.  I just don’t know the specifics, nor do I particularily care to learn.  Whatever the motivation behind the production of WHITE NOISE 2, I’m surprised it turned out as cohesive, as fun and as original as it did.


rss 1 comment
  1. Tal
    September 22nd, 2008 | 2:36 pm | #1

    I really enjoyed this movie too – I don’t understand why it didn’t get a theatrical release, sure it’s not a mega blockbuster but it’s better than a good deal of stuff that does make it to the big screen!

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