Friday, October 16, 2015

White Noise

Year 7, Day 289 - 10/16/15 - Movie #2,175

BEFORE: It's really a thematic link from "Dragonfly" to "White Noise", two films with men receiving messages from their dead wives.  But let's see if I can find an actor link anyway, because I know I had one in mind when I set up this chain.  First try - Kevin Costner links to Michael Keaton through "Night Shift", because Costner had a small cameo as a frat boy in that film.  I'm not sure that counts, because that was even before "The Big Chill" and nobody knew who Kevin Costner even was.  Ron Rifkin links to Keaton through a 1978 film called "Rabbit Test", so let's just say there's a link to Michael Keaton (last seen in "Birdman") in there somewhere.

THE PLOT:  An architect's desire to speak with his wife from beyond the grave, becomes an obsession with supernatural repercussions. 

AFTER: Apparently this EVP (Electronic Voice Phenomenon) is a real thing - people scan through static from TV and radio signals, looking for messages from beyond.  I can think of many, many better ways to spend my time - but we've got another widower main character in this film, and he gets obsessed with the possibility of receiving a message from his dead wife.  So he buys a bunch of TVs, and he spends all of his late-night hours watching random things, hoping to discern some kind of pattern to it all.  Man, I know that feeling...

But, really, isn't this just more junk science?  While some might regard this as some kind of paranormal science (which should really count as an oxymoron), others believe that people listening to static or white noise hear the messages that they want to hear, which really just puts this on a level with old-timey seances and that Long Island Medium.  Harry Houdini famously stated that if it were truly possible to send a message back to the living after his death that he would, and he and his wife agreed on a secret coded message.  Many seances were performed any many people claimed to have received messages from the magician, but none of the messages contained the proper code words.

Of course, we have to wonder, if there is an afterlife, and if dead people can send messages to the living, why aren't the messages more clear?  Why are they hard to decipher, or hard to understand, or why are they sent on that weird frequency between TV stations, the one I used to tune into as a young teen, hoping to catch a glimpse of something lurid on scrambled porn stations?  I probably ruined a few TVs, messing with the horizontal hold just to make those images a little less jumpy - I had no idea that by the time I became an adult, we'd have this internet thing and smut would be a lot easier to find.  

Anyway, our protagonist tonight starts believing that messages are coming to him from his dead wife, and that she is giving him information to help other people, who are about to die.  Again, one wonders why she can tell him who to save, but can't just give him exact addresses or anything.  And sometimes he gets the messages from the dead people before they're even dead, and that doesn't even seem to make any sense.  Why didn't they just call him on the phone, if they were still alive?  Or are the messages from the other side going back in time somehow, so they can be more effective?  It's all very unclear.  

It's also junk science, once again.  What frequency is he tuned to?  What software is he using to remove the static and hear the voices?  How did he even figure out how to do that?  And with everyone these days having access to cable TV and satellite, how does he even GET static in the first place?  When I was a kid we had the UHF dial with like 50 channels, but only three or four of them had shows on them (25, 38, 56 and 64 in the Boston area) and the rest were static - but with cable this isn't even a thing any more.  

There's a whole wave of these "found footage" films, like the "Paranormal Activity" series, and a bunch of TV shows about ghost hunting, and I don't believe a bit of it.  Like how do all these video-cameras and devices record sights and sounds that we're not seeing?  It's all a bunch of contrivances to use special effects to try and scare the bejeesus out of people.  And then you've got this film, which tries to tie EVP to ghosts, serial killers, missing people and using predictions to change fate.  That's a lot to expect from a bunch of static.  

But yes, there are positive messages that come in through the TV, along with a lot of negative ones.  Evil forces are at work - in the form of infomercials, reality TV stars, televangelists and Kardashians.   Those all scare me much more than dead people.  I've got two more weeks of horror movies to go, and I'm hoping that they'll start getting better soon.  There are three or four that appear on that list of "1,001 Movies to See Before You Die", so I've got high hopes that things will improve next week.  If they don't, well at least I'll have cleared this category, so maybe I won't have to watch horror films any more.

Also starring Deborah Kara Unger (last seen in "Payback"), Ian McNeice (last seen in "A Life Less Ordinary"), Chandra West (last seen in "I Now Pronounce You Chuck & Larry"), Sarah Strange, Mitchell Kosterman, Keegan Connor Tracy.

RATING: 4 out of 10 blueprints

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