A full Free Movie of the Day is posted on the JoBlo Movies YouTube channel every day of the week – but on Fridays things get a little freakier and a little more fun. Get your weekend started the right way by indulging in Friday Fright Nights! Every Friday, we’ll be taking a look at another genre movie you can watch in its entirety, free of charge, either on the YouTube channel linked above or in the video embed here.
Our Friday Fright Night feature this week is the supernatural horror film Noise in the Middle, which could be seen as a study in first-time experiences, walking a fine line, and douchebag characters. So let’s break it down.
First-time experiences: this was the feature directorial debut of Marcus McCollum, who also wrote the screenplay with Glen Kannon – both of them receiving their first feature writing credits here. Noise in the Middle also happens to be the screen debut of a young actress named Faye Hostetter, who plays a major role that didn’t require her to deliver much dialogue… and this is where we reach the idea of Walking a Fine Line. Hostetter’s character is a non-verbal autistic girl, and performers and filmmakers have to be very delicate when bringing an autistic character to the screen. Do it poorly and it can be disastrous. If you want to see an example of disaster, I would point you in the direction of the 1994 thriller Silent Fall. Hostetter went into Noise in the Middle trying hard to make sure she wouldn’t do anything disrespectful while playing this character, Emmy. And I would say she was successful, as she’s believable in the role and you also come to care about Emmy over the course of the film.
Of course, it’s not too difficult to care about her when she’s stuck with the film’s Douchebag Character. I often find a good douchebag character to be highly entertaining. Joe Pilato’s performance as Captain Rhodes in George A. Romero’s Day of the Dead is a prime example of that; it’s one of the greatest douchebag performances ever put on film, and it’s a blast to watch. But Emmy’s dad Richard, played by John Mese, is not the sort of douche who’s fun to watch. I’m not saying Mese gives a bad performance. I don’t think we’re meant to like Richard very much, so it works. It’s just so frustrating watching this guy be completely inept and hot-tempered in his interactions with Emmy, I was hoping a vengeful spirit would show up and tear his guts out like the zombies in Day of the Dead did to Rhodes.
Oh yeah, there are spirits in Noise in the Middle. It’s not only about a father who doesn’t know how to handle his autistic daughter or about the experimental treatment Emmy is undergoing, there’s also talk about Emmy being an indigo child who can communicate with the dead, the house that Emmy and Richard are staying in having a dark history, and Richard gradually morphing into someone who used to live in the house, much like George Lutz in The Amityville Horror. There’s a lot going on in Noise in the Middle and not all of it works. But some of it does.
Here’s the synopsis:
After the sudden death of his wife, a grieving father of a severely non-verbal autistic girl seeks experimental therapy where he unknowingly rents an Air B&B with a haunted history. This stirs his daughter’s psychic abilities along with his personal demons. The result is a story full of suspense, tension, empathy and a powerful metaphor about the Noise in all of us.
Hostetter and Mese are joined in the cast by Tara Buck, Jim Holmes, Juliette Jeffers, and Tom Konkle. And I have to take a moment to say that Konkle’s new age shop clerk character may be my favorite person in the movie. All of the other characters are nicer to Emmy than her own dad is.
So take a look at Noise in the Middle – after all, it’s free! Go meet Emmy, maybe get the creeps from the supernatural element surrounding her, and see if you despise Richard as much as I did.