White supposedly a sequel to White Noise and probably released as a quick cash grab riding on the coattails of what little ‘buzz’ it’s predecessor generated, White Noise 2 is really a different beast altogether with only the most tenuous of links to the netherworld ‘dead’. Instead, White Noise 2 is a story dealing with the ‘almost’ dead’, or more precisely about people who aren’t dead but should be.
Abe Dale (Nathan Fillion) is relishing a fine afternoon lunch in a dinner with his wife and young son, buoyed by the news earlier in the day that his wife is pregnant with their second child. His life is instantly shattered when a shadowy figure deliberately and determinedly walks up to the family, then squarely aims and shoots both mother and son, and, as he mouths “Sorry” to Abe, places the gun under his own chin and fires.
Abe, despondent over the stupefyingly meaninglessness decimation of his family and his inability to protect them eventually succumbs to thoughts of suicide and tries to take his own life with an overdose of pills and booze. A quick reaction from a friend lands Abe in a hospital emergency ward where his fleeting life is coaxed back into his body, but not before Abe sees the mythical tunnel of ‘white light’ associated with Near Death Experiences (NDEs) and visions of his family waiting to embrace him.
Rather fortuitously, the doctor treating him after his little ‘accident’ also happens to be studying NDEs, so when Abe mentions that he now sees auras of white light around some people, he is told that it is only a lingering effect of the trauma and will soon disappear. But Abe soon discovers that those he sees glowing are all destined for death. Inevitably, Abe does the one thing anyone else would do in that situation and with that prescient knowledge; he tries to prevent those deaths. Before long he has literally ‘notched’ a handful of saved lives, one being the friendly, and recently widowed nurse Sherry (Katee Sackhoff).
Still unsatisfied as to why that stranger took his family in such a deliberate and targeted act, Abe finds the man’s wife, only to learn that the man did not die with the self inflicted wound and is now institutionalized. The wife tells Abe of her husband Henry’s descent into a reclusive study of NDE and E.V.P. (Electronic Voice Phenomenon, the only minor link to White Noise) from dead people and lets Abe peruse all of Henry’s research and associated notes. It is within that data trove that Abe learns that Henry himself experienced an NDE and like Abe, began seeing auras around certain people destined to die. He also found that with some timely intervention, he could prevent those deaths. Indeed prior to the day he shot them, Henry ‘saved’ Abe’s wife and son having seen auras around them days before he shot them. So why did Henry return to kill those very people he saved?
Within the ramblings of a madman Henry, now horribly disfigured, Abe learns the inexorable truth that when the balance of life and death is tilted, nature has a way of tilting it back, … and then some. Abe must then face the same difficult choices Henry faced before him, but time is running out.
Marginally better than White Noise, I really enjoyed the mystery of what would make a man walk up to an innocent person (much less a mother and son) and shoot them. Thankfully this tension is maintained throughout most of the movie and even when we know all the facts we are still left to ponder Abe’s final dilemma.