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White Noise: The Light (2006)
Director: Patrick Lussier

review by Alasdair Stuart

White Noise was a curate's egg of a movie. One step above the increasingly tired two-step of poor Asian horror remakes and slasher movies that have choked horror for the last few years it nonetheless still, somehow, managed to waste a good cast, a good premise and an intriguing central phenomenon. In contrast, White Noise: The Light is smart, well written, acted and directed and contains that rarest of all things in modern horror movies; a plot with a beginning, a middle and an end.

Three months ago Abe's life ended. He watched, powerless, as a man walked into the diner where he was eating with his wife and son, apologised to him, then shot them and turned the gun on himself. Unable to deal with the grief, Abe (Nathan Fillion) attempts to kill himself and, although revived, comes back a different man. He can see things, sense auras around people and hear the whispers of the dead. Abe can see who is about to die and with the help of his nurse Sherry (Katee Sackhoff) he sets out to find out why and how to save them.

White Noise 2 is automatically several points ahead of its predecessor with the two leads. Fillion is a pathologically likable leading man and as Abe he does a decent job of running the gamut from suicidal depression to manic energy. The middle section of the film is particularly impressive with Abe running himself ragged trying to save people in increasingly ludicrous situations. Always polite, always likeable and always just on the edge of losing it he's a quintessential everyman actor and more than capable of carrying the emotional weight of the plot on his shoulders, particularly in the final half hour.

Sackhoff is served slightly worse, her character effectively a cameo. However, again she does a good job as Sherry, using her natural ebullience to mask a character who is quietly very broken indeed. The moment where she turns up on Abe's doorstep with some truly bad wine is both genuinely sweet and poignant, the courage she's had to summon up to move past the loss of her own husband written all over her face. If there's a problem with her role it's that she's simply not in the film enough and inevitably it suffers a little as a result. That being said, she proves her range here and anyone looking for the further adventures of Kara Thrace (or Mal Reynolds for that matter) is either going to be pleasantly surprised or very disappointed.

Honourable mention must also be made of the fantastic Craig Fairbrass. As Henry Caine, the killer of Abe's family he's a hulking physical presence but also a tragic figure. He's a good man in a very bad place and the end result is both desperately sad and tidily plotted, raising the film far above the norm.

To go into specifics would spoil the fun, but White Noise: The Light is both very different from the original and from 90 percent of the horror movies on the market today. The script explores the central concept fully, the characters are well rounded and the final half hour is bleaker than anything else you'll see this year. A genuinely pleasant surprise and one any horror fan should treat themselves to.
White Noise: The Light

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