White Noise appears in an aspect ratio of approximately 2.35:1 on this single-sided, double-layered DVD; the image has been enhanced for 16X9 televisions. Although the transfer of Noise didn’t attain greatness, it proved consistently satisfying.
Across the board, sharpness seemed good. Occasionally the film looked ever so slightly soft, but those examples were infrequent, and they almost made artistic sense for this kind of ethereal thriller. In any case, the flick usually appeared tight and well-defined. No issues with jagged edges or shimmering occur, and only light edge enhancement was present. I noticed no signs of any source flaws during this clean transfer.
Moody thrillers come with moody palettes, and Noise stayed in that realm. The colors were consistently subdued and tended toward the gray side of things. This was by design, and the tones were perfectly satisfying given the film’s stylistic constraints. Black levels were nicely deep and rich, while low-light shots demonstrated appropriate levels of density and clarity. Overall, I found the image to work quite well,
Similar thoughts greeted the solid Dolby Digital 5.1 soundtrack of White Noise. As a supernatural thriller, quite a few good moments appeared, although much of the movie concentrated on creepy ambience. The audio provided those moments to good effect, as the various spooky elements swept all around the room. Louder bits proved just as compelling. The flick’s scare segments created a good feel for the eerie side of things and made those parts more effective. Music also demonstrated nice stereo imaging, and the package left us with a strong sense of environment.
Across the board, the flick demonstrated good audio quality. Speech always sounded natural and crisp, with no edginess or problems connected to intelligibility. Music seemed robust and dynamic, as the score was well-recorded and full. Effects showed nice definition and life. They came across as concise and kicked into higher gear when necessary. I didn’t think Noise had the auditory impact to jump to “A” level, but it fared nicely.
When we head to the extras, we start with an audio commentary from director Geoffrey Sax and actor Michael Keaton. Via the magic of technology, both watched the movie together and offered a running, screen-specific discussion although they sat in different locations. Note that scheduling conflicts required Keaton to depart around the 75-minute mark.
Not that his exit mattered much in this fairly dull track. Mostly we hear about locations and how well the final product turned out, though the pair also tell us a little about story concerns, visual effects and approaches to characters. The latter area creates the commentary’s only lively moments, especially when Keaton starts to reveal some of his acting methods. Keaton also occasionally criticizes his own performance and tells us what he wishes he'd done differently. Unfortunately, to find these good moments, we suffer through lots of banality and dead air. The commentary reveals too little to make it a worthwhile listen.
Five Deleted Scenes last a total of nine minutes and 36 seconds. Mostly they offer minor filler moments, though we also get some slightly graphic content cut to retain the film’s “PG-13” rating. Nothing particularly compelling appears here. We can watch the segments with or without commentary from Sax. He presents terse but useful remarks that let us know why the different bits got the boot.
Three separate featurettes look at the concept of Electric Voice Phenomenon. Making Contact: EVP Experts runs eight minutes and 42 seconds as it presents archival materials and remarks from AA-EVP co-directors Tom and Lisa Butler, Instrumental Transcommunication Journal founder Dr. Anabela Cardosa, paranormal investigators Claire Andrea Zammit and Dennis William Hauck, AA-EVP founder Sarah Estep, Bridge to the Afterlife founder Martha Copeland, and AA-EVP members Karen Mossey and Judy Quillen. They tell us about EVP and offer their opinions - and defenses - of it. None of this serves to satisfy a skeptic or sell things very well, as the featurette mostly feels like a one-sided infomercial.
Next we see the four-minute and 27-second Recording the Afterlife at Home. It presents remarks from Tom and Lisa Butler as they teach us how to make our own EVP tapes. I have no idea how many viewers will actually attempt this, but it’s kind of a neat little tutorial if you want to give it a shot.
Lastly, Hearing is Believing: Actual EVP Sessions goes for 14 minutes and 33 seconds. This piece includes notes from the Butlers again along with supernatural expert Neil Tobin and Dexter Grey, the owner of an alleged haunted castle. The Butlers talk about their work and we see them investigate a couple of locations. After that we check out the results.
Why do I get the feeling that people like the Butlers used to run every Beatles record backwards to prove that Paul was dead? “Believing” and the other featurettes give us a decent look at the whole EVP thing, but they suffer from their radically one-sided nature. I’d like something with a more critical eye that provides arguments from folks who aren’t true believers. Nothing in “Believing” does anything to convince the skeptics.
Noise starts with a few ads. We get clips for Assault on Precinct 13, Casino and Northern Exposure.
A drab thriller, White Noise fails to live up to its potential. It enjoys a cool concept but can’t decide what kind of film it wants to be, and this robs it of coherence and punch. The DVD offers very good picture and audio along with a decent but lackluster roster of extras. The bland audio commentary comes as a particular disappointment. The same goes for the movie itself, as it could have been something special.