Rated: PG-13 Reviewed by: Chris Release date: January 7, 2005 Released by: Universal Studios, Inc.
We haven't seen Michael Keaton on screen in quite a while; it's unfortunate his return is a mediocre thriller.
He plays Jonathan Rivers, an architect with a young son and pretty second wife, Anna. Anna disappears after a car accident and her body is found several weeks later.
Jonathan begins getting calls from his dead wife's cell phone and mysterious messages begin appearing on his home phone answering machine. A stranger shows up at his work and home with an explanation for all the strange occurrences Jonathan is experiencing. Anna is attempting to communicate with him through "EVP," electronic voice phenomena.
Soon Jonathan becomes a believer and he ships his son off to grandma's house, loads up his apartment with high tech recording and visual equipment and prepares to communicate with his dead wife. But, just when we think we should prepare for some good scares as seen in Poltergeist, the film gets bogged down in endless buzzing, static and blurry images that go on for so long we are uninterested in the pay off.
Jonathan soon finds that it isn't all benign, friendly spirits out there, but also evil, up-to-no-good spirits, and he tries to piece together some very sketchy clues to stop the ghosts from using those clues to harm the living.
According to the opening and closing credits, there are people who believe these phenomena exist and devote themselves to deciphering messages from the dead. If the film had explored messages leading to real bad guys and less to TV snow, radio static and VCR tapes of constant "white noise," Keaton could have had a good thriller on his hands - but he doesn't.