White Noise (2023) [Fantasia Film Festival 2023] 

A young woman seemingly suffering from misophonia seeks help from her doctor. Running out of option and her sensitivity getting worse, she is put in an anechoic chamber, a room with pure sound reduction, a silent room, as silent as possible.

Written by Christine Saliba and Tamara Scherbak with Scherbak directing, White Noise is a fantastic short film about the effects of extreme sound sensitivity and how far one would go to stop hearing noises constantly. Of course, being that the film was presented at Fantasia, there is a horror element to it all, but let’s not spoil it. The film here is well-written, directed, and paced. With short films, the limited time can be an advantage for certain stories, and it certainly is here. The film would definitely lose some of its effectiveness were the film any longer. Here, the short run time is something that Saliba and Scherbak work with beautifully and make the most of. The ideas here, the way they are approached work great and give the film that extra edge to make it suspenseful with limited characters and locations, limited dialogue and human interactions. The last section of this short is done incredibly well and really gives the viewer something to sink their teeth into while bringing up a sense of worry.  

Lead Bahia Watson does incredible work here, from start to finish, but even more so in the last part of the film, spending a good amount of the film’s runtime alone and without dialogue, giving the performance that the character and the film need here, something strong, yet vulnerable. She shows emotions, just in the right amount, throughout her time on screen. The rest of the cast here are all in support of her character and her performance and they do quite well as well. Everyone here shows that they know what the film needs and how to bring it forward for the writing and directing.  

Overall, White Noise is successful short film in that it doesn’t require any extra time to develop its story and it has an impact in a short amount of time. This is what short films need to be, a collaboration of talented people putting together their efforts to bring a story, a short slice of life, to the screen with just the right amount of everything. Shorts can sometimes feel like they do not have the time their need to tell their stories, but here, the film makes the most of its allotted time and gives the viewer exactly what it needs to be effective.  

This year the Fantasia International Film Festival runs in Montreal from July 20th to August 9th.