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Gifted or going mad?
Stir of Echoes (DVD)
Member Name: GentleGenius
Stir of Echoes (DVD)
Advantages: Good storyline, some decent acting from Kevin Bacon, interesting, watchable
Disadvantages: The characters in the film aren't very nice people
RUNNING TIME: Approx. 99 mins
DIRECTOR/SCREENPLAY: David Koepp
PRODUCERS: Judy Hofflund & Gavin Polone
MUSIC: James Newton Howard
Kevin Bacon as Tom Witzky
Kathryn Erbe as Maggie Witzky
Zachary David Cope as Jake Witzky
Illeana Douglas as Lisa Weil
FILM ONLY REVIEW
Based on Richard Matheson's novel of almost the same name, Stir Of Echoes gets underway when Tom Witzky and his wife Maggie are at a social gathering with some of their friends. A heated discussion begins as to the effectiveness or otherwise of hypnosis, with Tom arguing his point from the anti side. Lisa Weil, who claims to have studied and gained a qualification in hypnosis insists she can put Tom 'under', and although reticent at first, he (Tom) reluctantly agrees, more because he believes he can prove Lisa wrong than anything else.
Lisa manages to successfully hypnotise Tom, and he subsequently begins to 'see' things. These things are fleeting and inexplicable, passing through Tom's inner vision in flashes so brief, that he can't hold onto them for long enough to make sense of them. After a while, he realises that his little son Jake has the same ability, and the two of them are able to both see and speak to the spirit of a young girl who appears to be haunting their house.
Maggie gets very worried about Tom due to his behaviour becoming more and more obsessive as he tries to make sense of his and Jake's 'visions'.
That loosely sets the plot....and, as usual, you must see the film yourself to learn more.
I first decided to buy and watch Stir Of Echoes, simply because I liked the title and felt that to dream up such a name for a film, chances could be fair that it may live up to my expectations.
I found the first part of Stir Of Echoes not dull exactly, but I wasn't very keen on the characters. I found Tom to be a rather detached man who seemed insensitive and soulless, plus his wife Maggie came across to me as being rather boring. In addition, I really didn't warm to Tom and Maggie's circle of friends in the slightest. I felt them to be a jeering bunch of one-upmanship wannabes with little or no care for how their jibes at one another may be affecting anybody. Lisa the hypnotist irritated me enormously, simply because she wouldn't take no for an answer, and I can't stand forceful people.
As far as the acting in Stir Of Echoes is concerned, I wasn't too impressed with any of the cast's performance, until Tom's behaviour reached a stage whereby it appeared that he was losing his mind. From that point onwards, Kevin Bacon came into his own, throwing himself into a truly commendable portrayal of a confused and frustrated man who knows he isn't going mad, yet his efforts to get to the bottom of a mystery makes him appear quite loopy to everybody else. As the film progresses, the character of Tom and his part is hiked up to a level of tautness which is simultaneously uncomfortable and fascinating to watch.
Kathryn Erbe was acceptable as Maggie Witzky, Jake's concerned wife, but it isn't easy to judge her acting skills because the part she played wasn't all that demanding. Illeana Douglas as hypnotist Lisa Weil, came across exactly the same as she did in the 1991 version of Cape Fear, where she played the young woman who was savagely raped and brutalised by Max Cady after she chatted him up in a bar. I'd like to say that little Zachary David Cope was stunning as Jake Witzky, and he certainly wasn't bad, but his part....albeit essential and significant to the storyline of Stir Of Echoes, was comparatively small.
I can't say that I noticed the music in Stir Of Echoes, which either means it blended well into the atmosphere of the film, or was laid-back to the point of obscurity, or simply wasn't good enough to hook itself into my brain.
Overall, I really enjoyed Stir Of Echoes, and the film definitely does get better as it goes on, but there was a little something missing which prevents me from calling it great and doling out the full whack of five stars. It is very good, but does slip outside of the great bracket....I have a feeling that in time, although it is quite a powerful film in parts, Stir Of Echoes will be one that doesn't stand out in my memory.
I do believe that at least one sequel to Stir Of Echoes has been made, and I can't comment on it or them, simply because this first production is the only one I've seen. It is rare that sequels outstrip or even equal the first in a series, but maybe I'm wrong in this instance. I will only be able to judge if I ever see it or them, and for the time being, I can't quite see (bearing the ending of Stir Of Echoes in mind) how the storyline could be continued.
Stir Of Echoes probably would appeal to lovers of psychological thriller type films that contain a lacing of the supernatural. It is quite likely that some people may find this movie at least a little scary in parts, although it didn't hit my own 'creep' spot - probably because I've seen too many films in the same genre that genuinely are terrifying. In comparison and for me, Stir Of Echoes isn't particularly scary, but - once it gets into the story proper - is a good, watchable, intriguing film that will quite likely keep you glued to the screen for its duration.
At the time of writing, Stir Of Echoes can be purchased on Amazon as follows:-
New: from £1.34 to £4.75
Used: from 1p to £1,000 (???!!! - Someone having a joke? The next DVD down in price from that ludicrous figure costs £5.99)
A delivery charge of £1.26 should be added to the above figures.
Thanks for reading!
~~ Also published on Ciao under my CelticSoulSister user name ~~
Summary: A decent enough slightly supernatural mystery