BluRay/DVD Reviews

STIR OF ECHOES

By • Apr 17th, 2000 •

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Rating: RECOMMENDED

Supernatural excursions are shoe-ins for surround sound systems. They and James Bond flicks. And SoE is no exception. Some of the fright engendered by the director depends on sudden sounds, or sonal intrusions from places we can’t see. Subways move into frame on distant overhead ‘L’s, rain comes disconcertingly down, souls suffer with external exclamations from the sound department.

It was a good film whose audience seemed to go bump in the night: they never found one another. Screenwriter David Koepp (The Fugitive) ventured into direction with this adaptation of a Richard Matheson book, and I was completely taken by the working class protagonist, played by Kevin Bacon, whose life is radically challenged by the unnatural things he begins to experience after an unconsciously vindictive friend of his wife’s (Illeana Douglas) hypnotizes him at a party and leaves an egotistical post-hypnotic suggestion fermenting in his id.

The sense of neighborhood, of groups of people walking places together at night, is so novel I fell in love with it. The mood wasn’t consistent, due to logic problems in the narrative. A few of these, such as the wife and her friend’s slow take on what’s happening to Kevin despite his voicing his suspicions and Douglas owning up to the problem, are confusing and seem ill-edited. And the small part of a black cop who also dabbles in the other world doesn’t work at all, doesn’t even serve its purpose expositionally.

There is a child here, and he sees dead people, but it was another, similar ghost-observing child who stole the box office last year, and The Sixth Sense, several hundred million later, deserved its status, but Stir of Echoes could have used more of an audience than it got. The National Board of Review of Motion Pictures recognized SoE at its Awards Ceremony this January as a laudable independent film, and Kevin Bacon was in attendance, looking very cool.

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