Retro Review: Stir of Echoes

The new Hollywood player “Artisan Entertainment” offers up its second outing in the wake of the “Blair Witch Project”.

The “Stir of Echoes” is based on a long out of print novel which has been adapted by screenwriter/director David Koepp.

Koepp is responsible for writing such huge hits as both “Jurassic Parks”, “Mission: Impossible” and “Men In Black.”

His last directing effort was 1996’s “Trigger Effect” which told of paranoia erupting during a mass blackout in LA. In “Stir of Echoes” we encounter more paranoia and its effects on a Chicago-based family.

The cause of the paranoia comes when the head of the family (Kevin Bacon) is hypnotized by an unlicensed hypno-therapist (Illeana Douglas). The hypnosis opens an unlocked chamber of Bacon’s mind and unleashes a long kept secret come to life.

“Stir of Echoes” is a very light and subtle ghost story thriller. How can a film like this overcome the flooded horror genre market?

Well the standout performance by Kevin Bacon is probably a good start as he gives one of his best in recent years. His protective nature towards his boy, his obsession with trying to solve his polluted mind and his reactions with the supernatural phenomenon bring out every reaction in Bacon.

The portrayal reminded me a lot of Craig T. Nelson in the classic “Poltergeist” as an every day man trying to battle the unknown.

Other evidences of “Poltergeist” were in the “little boy” who knows more than his parents and seems to be in tune with the corporeal world. As the plot unfolds and eventually ends we never really witness any real shocks which are key in a supernatural thriller.

Putting these story flaws and obvious comparisons aside, Echoes is fun.

One aspect of Echoes which is never fully explored is the “open-minded” underground where the wife learns that only 8% of the population have the ability to see the corporeal world.

Begging for help this intriguing subplot could have been the key this supernatural thriller needed.

Except the story takes the obvious road and we end at the conclusion.

Was this fully explored in the novel? We may never know. So if you are a Kevin Bacon fan see “Stir of Echoes” and if you want to see a light ghost story why not see this film.

(3 out of 5)

So Says the Soothsayer.

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