In one of the extras, Kevin Bacon hits the nail on the head when he paraphrases “...you know, a horror movie is a lot different to a slasher movie.” Stir of Echoes is definitely a horror movie, Starring Kevin bacon as Tom Witzky, a floundering telecom engineer. He is the only employed person in his household that is also home to wife Maggie (Kathryn Erbe) and son Jake (well played by Zachary David Cope). When Tom and Maggie are invited to a house party, Tom challenges another guest to hypnotise him. Much to Tom's surprise, and everyone else's enjoyment, he actually goes under. When Tom comes too, he begins to receive strange visions and so begins the movie proper.
Kevin Bacon's performance as Tom is very effective, especially as his mind's fabrications begin to consume him. These images are presented in a deliberately stylised fashion, a mechanic used by director David Koepp to unsettle the audience. This imagery works well in the first part of the movie, varying between the gross and “what the hell's that?”.
Unfortunately, there are a couple of things wrong with Echoes. Firstly, the horror element is shown too clearly and too early to really build suspense. Secondly, once the first expository reveal is given to the audience, the whole plot should be very obvious. This doesn't make the movie a bad one, but the fore knowledge diminishes the final act's impact.
This isn't to say there aren't any frightening moments to be had, here. I defy anyone to be randomly unsettled as they watch Echoes at half eleven at night with all the lights off. But it is that random element which makes Echoes a “bitty” movie, not quite breaking free of the mediocre.
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