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4.4 out of 5 stars
Stir of Echoes [2000] [DVD]
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
on 16 April 2001
So you liked sixth sense, and want a film in the same genre? Well look no further, 'Stir Of Echoes' has the same ingredients of suspense and the slow unravelling of the plot that sixth sense had. Im not going into the plot because I think you should watch the film without any preconceptions or knowledge of what's going to happen. There are more characters in Stir Of Echoes which means there is more interaction, unlike the alienated characters in sixth sense. Kevin Bacon shows his usual talent for creating a different character than that of his other films. The director has done well to set the mood to the film and you feel the tension that his wife (Kathryne Erbe) is suffering, at times not knowing what to think of Kevin Bacon's character. Another good child actor found in Zachary David Crane, no doubt we shall be seeing more of him in the future. The soundtrack has some good tracks, from the 'Gob's' cover of The Stones 'Paint It Black' to the eerie 'It's Not The Spotlight' by Beth Orton that should hopefully have hairs standing up on your neck at the end of the movie. Stir Of Echoes is a good film that many missed at the cinema, dont make the same mistake now its on video/dvd. Dim the lights, turn up the sound, take the phone off the hook and get immersed in the journey of Stir Of Echoes.
Enjoy
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26 of 27 people found the following review helpful
on 31 December 2003
Talk about a nail-biting thriller, "Stir of Echoes" is a supernatural journey into the unknown. Brilliantly written and directed, this is a movie that shouldn't be missed by anyone.
Kevin Bacon stars as Tom. Tom is an ordinary man who loves his family and is devoted to his job. The only thing he wishes is that he wasn't so ordinary. Everything drastically changes at a neighborhood party when Tom is hypnotized for a brief period of time. After that unforgettable night, Tom starts seeing things; haunting and violent images that he can't stop or ignore. He hears things that he cannot block from his eardrums. Later on, he discovers that what he is witnessing are possible puzzle pieces to an unspeakable crime that took place a while back. As Tom starts losing it and is determined to solve the unbearable puzzle that haunts him day and night, the more danger he puts him and his family into.
In a way, this was the movie that "Sixth Sense" was trying to be. I felt that this movie was a lot more shocking and haunting. The movie has great acting and a fabulous screenplay. This is a movie you may not want to watch late at night, unless you don't mind a nightmare or two. It's too bad that this movie came out the same time that "The Sixth Sense" did, otherwise it would've gotten more recognition; well deserved recognition at that.
This is a great thriller that should've received a hell of a lot more recognition. Rent or buy this one as soon as you can. If you love a dark thriller, then you will not be disappointed. Be warned; there are some shocking and disturbing images that may be hard to stomach for some; not for those who get disturbed easily. "Stir of Echoes" is filled with thrills and surprises that you won't want to miss. It also has an excellent plot with a surprising climax. An easy 5 out of 5 stars, without question.
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15 of 16 people found the following review helpful
Stir of Echoes has something that most movies do not have-a story adapted from a Richard Matheson novel. I haven't had a chance to read this particular novel as of yet and thus cannot say how closely the movie follows it, but the fact that we have this movie as a result of director David Koepp's chance reading of the highly talented Matheson's 1958 novel is a powerful argument for keeping the works of the truly great writers in print and readily available to all. Certainly, there is a Sixth Sense quality to this movie, quite by accident and somewhat to its misfortune in terms of the timing of its theatrical release, but this movie stands on its own quite nicely. Kevin Bacon gives a remarkable performance as Tom Witzky, a man haunted by visions he can neither understand nor escape from. These disturbing visions first come to him after he is hypnotized by his sister-in-law at a party, and almost immediately they begin to consume him. His wife Maggie (Kathryn Erbe) grows frantic with worry, while his son Jake (Zachary David Cope making his feature film debut) eases his transition into this strange new mental world. Jake has been talking to ghosts throughout his childhood, especially Samantha, the teenager Tom unexpectedly encounters on his couch that first night and seeks to "find" again. Samantha wants him to do something, and Tom's struggle involves finding out just what that something is. There are plenty of creepy scenes to be enjoyed, and the visual presentation of Samantha is especially well done; the unnatural way she moves was captured by having Jennifer Morrison walk especially slowly and filming her using a different frame rate than normal. It's remarkably effective. The visions are also impressive-we see what Tom sees and can understand the frustration he feels at not being able to interpret them. All he gets are scattered images, and it is up to him to put all of the pieces of the puzzle together. The mystery of Samantha's disappearance is not obvious, thank goodness, and this fact allows for a truly spectacular end to this movie.
This is a thoroughly enjoyable, thought-provoking film, one more than capable of pleasing stalwart horror lovers like myself as well as more mainstream viewers who wander into the realm of the cinematic supernatural only on special occasions or by accident. The acting is superb on all counts, from Bacon on down the line to Cope, and the rather subdued special effects really work marvelously and help reinforce the believability of the otherwise fantastic story. There is a definite air of realism and plausibility here, and that helps maintain a crucial connection between the audience and the film.
The special features offered on the DVD are good things to have, but they don't really increase your enjoyment of the movie itself. The featurette is actually rather short in length and mainly features short interviews with the cast and crew. The behind the scenes featurette seems rather strange; you just get very short looks at cast and crew preparing or doing their work, and there is no effort to explain anything that you are seeing. Of course, the DVD also features a commentary by director David Koepp for those who really want to dig deeply into the genesis of this action-packed thriller. I was disappointed to find no deleted scenes included on the DVD, though; normally, I'm not that high on deleted scenes because most of the time it is quite easy to see why they were deleted. In the production notes for Stir of Echoes, though, Koepp refers to a scene featuring Samantha which he found too creepy to include in the final cut; I would really have liked to have a look at that scene.
Stir of Echoes is a great example of realistic suspense done right. Foregoing blood and heavy-handed horror tactics, director David Koepp has succeeded in giving us an electrifying, deliciously creepy, intellectually stimulating supernatural thriller every bit as exciting and memorable as The Sixth Sense.
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16 of 17 people found the following review helpful
on 13 August 2001
If you're looking for a film to make you jump, or your lady friend to grab hold of you at the scarey bits, then this is it. Way better than 6th sense, altough you know how it'll end about half way through. Kevin Bacon plays a superb character. You must buy this for your collection purely for the "scare" factor.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
TOP 1000 REVIEWERon 28 May 2015
This film is brilliant, it has a quality screenplay. This film is based on a young family,and when the father(kevin bacon) is hypnotized at a neighbours party, this seems to have released a inner power, he now sees things in a different light and seems intent on solving a crime of a young girl who went missing, she seems to appear to him and his son, he has many da ja vue moments and a weird red light that flashes quicker when he gets nearer to the clues he also sees things when he dreams like massages on a big cinema screen . This is a great film and the Blu-ray picture quality is very nice, plus the Blu-ray is region free A.B.C. and what a great price you can get it for around five pounds.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
Based on the book by Richard Matheson, "A Stir of Echoes" follows the story of your average Joe - working class line man Tom Witzky (Kevin Bacon). Tom is disatisfied with his life and his failure to have done anything exciting with his life becomes all too apparent when he realises his wife Maggie is pregnant again, when they can barely make ends meet as it is.

During a discussion at a neighbours' party, Tom dares his sister-in-law to hypnotise him. Little does he know that a post-hypnotic suggestion has opened a floodgate to psychic abilities; that is, until he starts to experience terrifying things.

Tom begins slowly crack, scared and intrigued by the ghost of a girl who went missing six months before has begun to haunt him and his son, and Maggie begins to question Tom's sanity and the safety of her son.

As the ghost gets angrier; it becomes a race against time to find out what happened to her, and why it's connected to Tom's house.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
Tom's a utilities lineman, married, with a young son, his wife is pregnant; he hangs out with long-time pals in a Chicago neighbourhood.

At a party, his sister-in-law hypnotises him, and he goes into a deep trance. Before waking him, she suggests that he keep his mind open.

That night he sees flashes of violence and the ghost of a young woman. His young son, too, is "a receiver," but while the boy is calm and coherent in his conversations with spirits, Tom is confused and agitated.

Over time, the young woman's story comes to the surface, and Tom begins a hunt for her body that puts him and his usually understanding wife, Maggie, in grave danger.....

Yes it was released too soon after the sixth sense, but saying that this failed because of that is another thing. Some people just cannot get enough of this stuff, we have endless exorcism movies and so on and so on.

I think the problem was that the company lost faith in the movie, released it limited, and then hope people would pick it up in years to come.

In that respect, the film has garnered a cult following, but those who claim that this is superior to The Sixth Sense are just wrong.

Bacon is great as the increasingly paranoid Tom, and the film is electric whenever he is on screen. The rest of the cast are decidedly bland, and you know which ones have the secrets, and which ones think Tom is nuts.

There are frights, but these are all jump shocks, and because of this, there is no real tension throughout the movie. There is a little plot revelation toward the end and a neat sub plot with this son, but the film doesn't have the same narrative structure as TSS, so comparing it to that is unfair.

It's a solid chiller, with some good scenes and frights, and a good ending
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
Stir of Echoes is written and directed by David Koepp who adapts from the novel of the same name written by Richard Matheson. It stars Kevin Bacon, Kathryn Erbe, Zachary David Cope, Illena Douglas, Jennifer Morrison, Kevin Dunn and Conor O'Farrell. Music is scored by James Newton Howard and cinematography by Fred Murphy.

Chicago phone engineer Tom Witzky (Bacon) submits to being hypnotised by his sister-in-law and finds that his young son's imaginary friend is not imagined after all...

Undeniably lost in the slip-stream of the similar themed The Sixth Sense, Stir of Echoes screams out to be seen by more fans of supernatural mysteries. It's a near faultless production, with Koepp getting all the key ingredients right on both the page and in transfer to the screen. Pacing is often the problem with films of a similar ilk, but Koepp deftly structures it in three engrossing sections.

First third establishes the main characters and the supernatural set-up, but the bonus here is that character reactions are believable, especially with Erbe's confused wife, and Koepp has a great sense of atmosphere whilst ensuring we are fully immersed in Tom Wizky's new world of disorientation by way of terrifying visions and red light shocks. Second third brings the chills and the odd boo-jump, again the director is aware that too many jumps can overkill the plot, so they are nicely spaced out and accompanied by a palpable fear of the unknown. Then the last third unravels in a whirl of Roy Neary like obsessions and ghosts of the past denouements. It's a standard formula, yet it's amazing just how often film makers get it wrong, especially in horror. Not a problem here.

Film is further boosted by Newton Howard's score that blends the ethereal with rising thunder and Murphy's colour photography, the latter of which helps to paint a harmonious Chicago neighbourhood, soon to be turned upside down, literally at one end of the street. The acting is super, which in Bacon's case is a given to anyone who has followed his career, and Koepp shows some nice and creepy visual filming techniques to further enhance the great Richard Matheson's story. There's the odd little misstep, such as a thread involving a secret organisation that has the "gift" of being "open" to the supernatural, that feels like filler to over state Tom's torment. While the post reaction to a suicide attempt isn't given nearly enough screen time to really add impetus to the unfolding mystery. But small complaints and Stir of Echoes (great title) remains a truly involving and entertaining supernatural mystery. 8.5/10
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
on 28 August 2002
If you, like me, are bonkers about psychic/paranormal thrillers then you'll love this. You'll also love it if you are a fan of the much under-used and under-rated Kevin Bacon who is superb in the role of an ordinary guy tormented by psychic visions.
The film has a dark feel to it so it has you in more suspense than Sixth Sense, which came out at the same time and kind of overshadowed this (in many ways superior) film. It has far more action and scary moments than Sixth Sense so you don't have to wade through almost 2 hours for a plot twist to make the viewing worth while.
It's also a good "who-dunnit" which will have you guessing til the end and some of the complex scenes where Kevin's visions are played out in reality are so well done that they are most eerie.
You'd be better to compare this to Cate Blachett's "The Gift" both in terms of quality and style and it's certainly one worth owning for repeat viewing.
Enjoy.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on 11 August 2007
I love movies similar to the 6th sense, the gift, the hole, or anything to do with clarivoyants or mediums. This movie is one of my favourites and is based on Kevin Bacon being hypnotised at the beggining of the film, and from there the story slowly unravels and will keep you guessing till the very end. Its amazing how it all comes together, I have probably watched this movie 10 times over the past 5 years. Watch it!
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