Stir of Echoes

Tom is your average kinda guy. A guy who once had big dreams but now finds himself working the day in day out to keep his family afloat. His Chicago blue collar life is built around his pregnant wife, son, and community friends.

 

The story kicks into second as his sister-in-law hypnotizes him, opening spiritual doors into his life. That night while in bed he witnesses a ghost in the house (a terrifying moment). His son, "a receiver", has always been able to see and hear things and is trying to calm his father, begging for him to not be afraid. But Tom remains frustrated and afraid, especially after the ghost starts making demands. Slowly the story of this ghost begins to unfold and Tom goes on a obsessive search to find her missing body.

 

This film was written by none other than David Koepp who proudly wrote many of our blockbuster favorites. To name a few he wrote War of the Worlds, Mission Impossible, Spiderman, Panic Room, Jurassic Park, and even the new Indiana Jones.

 

The story is based off one of my favorite writers, Richard Matheson, who wrote the novel I am Legend and The Incredible Shrinking Man. There are a couple cool references to Matheson throughout the movie.

 

Kevin Bacon does a good job as Tom, a new receiver for the undead. For some reason I usually underestimate him as an actor. Bacon has created some interesting roles in the past and this one is definitely not one of his worst.

 

The story is interesting and worth conversation. It seems the first half of the movie is trying to scare while the second becomes more about the mystery of the girl, how she was killed, and where her body might be.

 

Stir of Echoes was definitely written by a good writer. Clues and traps are set throughout the movie making the payoff worth that much more. Definitely some bumps and snags along the way but still an interesting story on a genre that quickly can become cliché or oversaturated.

 

Some of my only issues are maybe with the ghost. Her first appearance gets your heart racing and your friend screaming. Unfortunately the director begins to show you way too much and she quickly becomes just that pale figure lurking beyond the corners. I guess this plays more into the transition from horror to mystery but still...

 

The happy ghost end scene was ridiculous and there was a beautiful set up for "angry ghosts" but never really a follow through worth mentioning.

 

I know some would disagree but I thought the inclusion of Neil the cop was random and ultimately not needed.

 

Last but not least the receiver child of Bacon was a key element that rises above and beyond(thank god it didn't turn into the 6th Sense). There's an amazing opening scene of the movie where the kid is in the bathtub talking to the camera, asking us the audience weird questions. We see his father in the other room tinkering with something. Finally almost annoyed Tom comes in and swoops his kid out of the tub asking about pajamas. The camera reveals the boy was talking the wall...or THE GHOST!!!! A great opening scene.

 

Stir of Echoes is not without its flaws but still maintains enough originality and solid story telling to give you a little more than you bargained for.

 

Reviewed by: shea
11 Comment(s)
Paul said...
I agree, except for Neil. Neil was one of the most interesting characters, and I would like to have seen him. His character fails only because he wasn't utilized enough.

I loved the scenes when the ghost is sucking the life out of him, and the hypnotizing scenes as well. The creepiest had to be when the kid speaks with an otherwordly voice "don't ask the boy, ask me" or something like that. A lot of great build up to a scary thriller/mystery, a la What Lies Beneath, but the director chose to go the route of murder/mystery. He did a great job with his choice (save the last scene with the ghost), but there was certainly more that could have been done with the road less traveled.
Shea said...
Yeah maybe the fact they didnt utilize his character is why I find him so random.

Did you pick up the correlation between the song Paint it Black and in the hypno state the theater gets...painted black?
Paul said...
yep
Nick said...
I saw this movie years back and loved it. It's a great movie... and the fingernail breaking thing gets me every time.
Shea said...
Yeah...nail breaking sucks. Unfortunately I saw Texas Chain first and have since become numb...
Andy said...
ugh one of the worst nail breaking scenes i remember is from land of the dead. the zombie woman scrapes her hand down the bus (or whatever it was) window and breaks them all off... makes me shiver just thinking about it.
* (asterisk) (http://suchastheyare.blogspot.com) said...
Long time since I've seen it, but soooo much better than The Sixth Sense.
Shea said...
Ha... I couldn't DISAGREE more.
martha said...
hmmm... this one didn't really interest me before, but now i kinda want to see it. ... someday maybe
Nick said...
Sorry, asterisk... I love this movie, but I'm with Shea. There's no way this is better than The Sixth Sense.
* (asterisk) said...
Haha. The Sixth Sense was so signposted from the second scene. This one kept me guessing a good long time. And it didn't have that annoying little shit in it either!