Great movie, released at the wrong time... (by Mr Dread)
A The Sixth Sense and Stir of Echoes must have been the two movies of '99 that I enjoyed the most. Both had good scripts and stories; they were interesting, mysterious, dark, weird -- those are my kinds of movies! They are also a proof that the mysteriousness of ghosts is something we will never tire of or not think to be intriguing. Stir of Echoes was somewhat similar to Sixth Sense but it was also in many was DIFFERENT. First of all, it SOE is dealing with hypnosis and has a more 'criminal' as well as supernatural theme. This movie is spectacular and the reason it was not <more>
recognized as such, is because it was released just a few weeks after The Sixth Sense - a movie which had already satisfied the audience with its supernatural theme. And because The Sixth Sense was such a hit, Stir of Echoes was shoved aside and didn't get the recognition it deserved. Don't get me wrong! I loved Sixth Sense, but this movie is also very good and if you liked The Sixth Sense, I highly recommend you see it!
A good scary movie, that accomplishes more than killing people. It is scary and has a point. (by thegreenmarine)
Stir of Echoes is a scary movie that has a good story to tell. It is not a shallow film, like many in the horror genre. Stir of Echoes is a mystery-thriller that unravels itself through supernatural means, and offers horror in a meaningful package.
MUCH better than Sixth Sense (by CoenHead)
There is an intelligence and honesty to "Stir of Echoes" that doesn't exist within "Sixth Sense" - the entire movie doesn't rest on a singular, easily deducible device either. It took me about thirty seconds to realize in "The Sixth Sense" that Bruce Willis' character was, in fact, a ghost - but in "Stir of Echoes" nothing is revealed ahead of its time.There is a humanity and sincerity in the relationships as well - no stereotypical, strained single mom/difficult kid relationship like in "Sixth Sense", but in fact an honestly <more>
written and acted relationship with genuine tensions and joys and hardships.Ileana Douglas deserves a special mention for a fantastic performance in a supporting role - as usual. What a wonderful, talented actress she is, and deserves to be more widely known - she can act rings around the Julia Roberts of the world.
Had the bad luck it was released right after "The Sixth Sense". (by Boba_Fett1138)
Before 1999 this type of supernatural thrillers/horror didn't really existed. This all changed after the release of "The Sixth Sense". It was an huge hit and the movie was the talk of the year. It launched a totally new genre of movies. Every movie of the same 'type' released after "The Sixth Sense" was considered by everyone lame, unoriginal and a rip-off and a movie to quickly cash in after the success of "The Sixth Sense". "Stir of Echoes" was released only a month after "The Sixth Sense" and people wanted to know nothing of it. <more>
Completely unfair, also since I thought that the script was even being written before "The Sixth Sense" was and I also thought that filming completed earlier but yet it was released later in cinemas. Who knows what would have happened to this movie if it was released before "The Sixth Sense...It surely would had been appreciate more than it was now.I'm glad that the movie by now is finally starting to receive the credit it deserves.You also have to remember that in 1999 these type of movies were still fresh and new, so everything about it was original. However by todays standards the movie perhaps doesn't really seem that original anymore, since dozens like this sort of movie are being made every year now.The story is greatly written by David Koepp, who really is one of the best writers in the business. Everything is build up perfectly slowly and mysteriously. You never know what is going to happen next and the movie offers more than enough surprise. In the beginning you really don't know what the movie is going to be about or were its trying to head to. You don't know if its real what is happening or is it just the main character imagining things. It provides the movie with mystery and an uneasy atmosphere.The movie above all is a supernatural thriller that also definitely has some similarities by the way with "The Sixth Sense", which also might be a reason why it was received so coolly but the movie also features some real horror elements. And remember again, this was all quite new and refreshing for 1999 standards. I was actually quite blown away by the movie when I first saw it, which must have been in 2000 or something.Kevin Bacon is really know for being the biggest Hollywood lead and he normally plays supporting roles, especially before this movie. This movie is perhaps the first one that truly allows Bacon to shine and show his skill as an actor and proof to the world that he can really carry a movie. It was nice and refreshing to see Kathryn Erbe in something different than "Law & Order: Criminal Intent" for a change. She plays such a different character. It shows how good as an actress she actually is.The movie is well directed by David Koepp himself and he knows how to bring his own story to the screen. The movie further more features some nice special effects, that are used only in the right places. The movie is still definitely much better and more refreshing than most genre movies being released today.Deserves to become a real genre-classic!9/10http://bobafett1138.blogspot.com/
Bacon 'Cooks' As An Unwilling Medium... (by cchase)
I have always admired and marveled at Kevin Bacon's versatility as an actor. From the likable fish-out-of-water guy who trips the light-fantastic through a piece of fluff like FOOTLOOSE, to putting everything on the line to play a pedophile in the unnerving THE WOODSMAN, there's hardly anything he can't - or won't do - to show his amazing range.That being said, STIR OF ECHOES still holds what is for me one of his all-time Top Five performances.He plays Tom Witzky, a regular mug living with his family in a working-class suburb of Chicago. Though he loves his family, <more>
hotter-than-hot wife Maggie Kathryn Erbe and precocious son Jake Zachary David Cope , he's also a man becoming bored with his life. He wants to do and be something more than who and what he is.Obviously, the old adage "be careful what you wish for" went right over Tom's head.At a party for family and friends, Tom volunteers to be hypnotized by his flaky sister-in-law, Lisa the always excellent Illeana Douglas , who makes a powerful suggestion to Tom that his mind takes literally. What happens next will change his life and everyone's around him forever.A 'doorway' has been opened inside Tom's head that allows him to communicate with the dead, and for them to reach out and touch him...whether he wants to or not. When the "nightmares" that he's been having begin to intensify, Tom knows he must find a way to close that doorway for good before he loses his family...and his sanity. The urgency is heightened when he discovers how sensitive he was before the hypnotic suggestion, in the most chilling way possible...it seems that son Jake can see and talk to the dead as well.In the tradition of THE CHANGELING, LADY IN WHITE and THE SIXTH SENSE, the focus of Tom's visions comes from one apparition in particular, who won't leave him or his family in peace until he can figure out what it wants and why. The situation provides fodder for one intense and terrifying performance, and with help from a strong supporting cast, Bacon comes through like a champ.When movies like this are adapted from older works by classic authors, I usually proceed with the greatest caution. But Richard Matheson's creepy novel has been skillfully transformed by David Koepp, a man who knows a little bit about balancing thoughtful plotting and dialogue with outright terror, as in APARTMENT ZERO and the outstanding job he does here will make you think twice the next time somebody wants to 'put you out' at a party with something more than just shots of Captain Morgan...
Well it's not as much horror as it is a mystery.The acting was great all around, especially Kevin Bacon. The scenes of life in a Chicago working class neighborhood, and the interaction with the local neighbors and cops was all believable and interesting, kind of like "The Deer Hunter".The mystery builds and you are guessing the whole time whats going on as Kevin Bacon as Tom Witzky slowly appears to go crazy...The title of the movie is a clue, there are some supernatural things going in...Really fun, engrossing movie. I would recommend it to everyone.
Thrilling and interesting (by jangu)
Actually, I found this movie more satisfying than "Sixth sense". It doesn't have a stunning payoff like "sixth sense" what film does? , but until the, in some ways hasty, conclusion, it's well made, scary and, since I have a knowledge of occult things through a good friend, rather believable. Kevin Bacon is credible in his part and so do Illeana Douglas. Kathryn Erbe however is stuck with nothing to do for large chunks of the movie. Effectively and atmosphericly shot, with some effective jolts that made me jump. To some, the conclusion may be a little simple and <more>
drawn-out, but I thought it was satisfying and filled to the brim with suspense. I find that the digging in the cellar/garden is a nice build-up for the finale, not that it goes on forever as a previous reviewer stated. It's only one thing that bothers me about the ending, and it is that too little is explained and a few threads of the story are totally abandoned. But that's only a minor complaint. For the most part, this is a creepy, interesting, well-made, scary and well played little thriller.
In 1999, the media was in a frenzy about a new film that used real things to terrify and excite its audience. Stir Of Echoes was not it. Partly due to the studio's financial difficulties, Stir Of Echoes came and went by itself, unsung and unappreciated. Which goes to show that recognition in the Hollywood system does not go to innovators or the best storytellers. It is all about marketability, and while Stir Of Echoes had this, the companies involved in making or distributing it did not seem to want to spend the cash involved in taking advantage. Either that or Artisan and Fox decided to <more>
use it as their tax write-off for that year.I have not read the novel by Richard Matheson, so I cannot comment on how faithfully the film follows its source. But that is irrelevant. When compared to its more big-name competitor, at least Stir Of Echoes has the courtesy to acknowledge its source. The film updates the story to a more modern era, thus saving a few dollars, since period pieces are expensive to make. In fact, the dramatic angle of the film keeps it rather cheap, since effects shots are few and far between. Not to mention the effects that do appear are fairly simple in nature. Indeed, Stir Of Echoes only cost about thirteen million to make, according to estimates. Which makes it all the more peculiar that Fox was unwilling to invest a little more effort in publicising the film.Kevin Bacon is in fine, fine form as the film's central hero, a regular guy called Tom Witzky. Kathryn Erbe is also in great form as his wife, Maggie. Illeana Douglas is decidedly odd as his sister-in-law, Lisa. But the real surprise here is child performer Zachary David Cope. After the pretender, that pile of sachaarine garbage called The Sixth Sense, child stars had such a bad reputation that Zachary deserves a medal for portraying such a genuinely likable, layered character. Indeed, director David Koepp took one hell of a risk by placing so much of the responsibility for the plot on his shoulders. That it pays off is a testament not only to the strength of Zachary David Cope's performance, but to the strength of the material he was given. Indeed, all the best scenes in Stir Of Echoes involve interaction between Zachary, Kathryn, and Kevin.I do think this film has its faults. Chief among them is that the story needed another ten minutes to properly develop. Plot threads like the group of psychics, a member of which helps put Kathryn Erbe's character on the path of greater understanding, needed better resolution. One moment, Maggie is asking this policeman why her husband is obsessed with a scene of memories to the exclusion of his job. The next moment, not only are details like the job forgotten, so too is the group and the policeman. Smoothing out intricate plot points such as this would have helped the story no end.In the end, however, Stir Of Echoes is proof that the artistic work one does not hear about may just be the one that has more merit. If nothing else, it is worth watching to see a small ensemble cast that excels. Even small performances like Liza Weil's demonstrate a sense of dramatic flair that has long fled most of the rest of Hollywood. It is for this reason that I gave Stir Of Echoes an eight out of ten. It is worth watching just to see how badly misdirected the hype machine often is.
The biggest problem with Stir of Echoes is the timing of the release. As we all know it was released at the same time as The Sixth Sense and the subject matter is coincidentaly very simular. This film not quite as good as the Bruce Willis classic because i dont think the twist is quite as dramatic. The thing that compares favourably to The Sixth Sense is that Stir Of Echoes is thoroughly entertaining from the first minute. Kevin Bacon Stars as a father who is hypnotised by his sister in law, which results in the opening of his mind to the spirit of a girl who was murdered in his house. His <more>
son already had the powers to speak to dead people and together they try to solve why the girl keeps contacting them. The young boy is brilliant in the roll as is Kevin Bacon and the whole film keeps you on the edge of the seat. The way this is filmed is stunning, especially when he is first hypnotised, i nearly went under myself! A Very entertaining movie. 8 out of 10.