Review: White Noise: The Light
|Starring||Nathan Fillion, Katee Sackhoff, Craig Fairbrass, Adrian Holmes, Kendall Cross|
Don't worry if you didn't catch the first White Noise, as the sequel practically ignores the EVP (Electronic Voice Phenomenon) story of its predecessor and instead focuses on sinister matters of the afterlife, amongst other crackpot plotlines. Abe Dale (Fillion) is a broken man after his wife and child are brutally murdered in a diner by an ex-Eastenders star (Fairbrass), so much so that he pops some pills, necks some Jack and says goodbye to the big blue. Before he can reach the white light at the end of the tunnel (represented by a shitty CGI effect like something out of Bill & Ted's Excellent Adventure) he's yanked back to the land of the living, where he realises he can now predict someone's immediate death, thanks to the ghostly white aura surrounding those about to shuffle this mortal coil. Turns out pissing on the Grim Reaper's chips has a nasty side effect, as Abe is haunted by the souls of the dead, while the people he does save don't stay grateful for long.
Say what you want about the original, but at least it stuck to its guns and didn't get bored of its plot halfway through. The sequel takes the fairly interesting concept of cheating death - however close it is to that of Final Destination - and wastes it, preferring to fill its running time with cheap scares and a nonsensical plot incorporating lost souls, ghosts, EVP, possession and the afterlife. It's so unfocused you're not entirely sure what's going on half the time: one minute Abe is being haunted by poorly tuned televisions, then before you know it he's fighting off ghosts with a baseball bat then uncovering sinister demonic possessions. Mere weeks after his wife's horrific death, he's locking lips and playing pool with impossibly smiley love interest Sherry (Sackhoff). Director Lussier even drops in a number of horror references, but even these are poorly implemented - a young girl in a red raincoat a la Don't Look Now does nothing to further the story, and Abe even reads the exact same 'number of the devil' Bible quote from The Omen. Note to director: don't rip off films that are a hundred times better than yours.
Perhaps the most painful bit of sitting through White Noise: The Light is watching the great Nathan Fillion reduced to playing second fiddle to some CGI ghouls. So fantastic in Serenity and perfectly cast in Slither, here his natural comic timing is wasted as he's forced to react half-heartedly to a series of duff cliches (ghosts looking in through windows etc.) and plod gamely through a pedestrian script (a sly 'Captain Tightpants' reference will have you recalling better days). If Fillion wants to be the new Bruce Campbell, he'll need to avoid dreck like this and crawl back on his knees to Joss Whedon.
If only White Noise: The Light had just an inkling of how utterly ridiculous it was, it could have been a blast. Certainly there are moments when you think the makers couldn't possible have been taking it seriously (a possessed pianist starts playing jaunty evil music) but just when you think it might be willing to take a few digs at itself, it shoots itself in the foot with a clunky line or astoundingly pretentious religious pose. It'd make a perfect Mystery Science Theatre 3000 movie, as you'll have much more fun making snarky comments than you will by paying any attention - it's packed full of ludicrous moments like ghosts riding bikes, old women falling down lift shafts and people being killed by falling pianos. Also, ghosts can give people electric shocks now, which is news to me.
Alas, it's yet another movie in the long, ever-increasing line of unnecessary sequels that should never have been made. Insultingly bad at times, its only saving grace is the fact that director seems to be ever-so-slightly mental. With a healthy dose of humour it could have been a guilty pleasure, but in going for a serious tone, it's exposed as a laughable attempt at horror. Do yourself a favour: stay at home and sit in front of a screen of static for an hour and a half - it'll probably make more sense than this and you might just save the world from White Noise 3.