Movie Review: Stir of Echoes (1999)

Starring: Kevin Bacon, Kathryn Erbe and Jennifer Morrison

Directed by: David Koepp

Tom lives a regular life with his wife and child and one evening at a party he allows his sister-in-law to hypnotise him. He’s a bit of a sceptic who doesn’t believe it’s going to have any affect on him but afterwards he starts having weird visions. The visions start becoming more intense and he’s pushed to near insanity by a ghostly figure of a girl who went missing from the area. Determined to rid himself of the nightmare he begins doing everything he can to find out what happened to her.

As mentioned in a previous review, I’m not that big of a Kevin Bacon fan. While I enjoy some of his movies such as Sleepers, Apollo 13 and Tremors I find him to be quite irritating and annoying. I think the root of my disdain towards him has been since he started being the face of EE’s advertising campaign here in the UK and since then I’ve slowly started to dislike him more and more with each advert I watch. It’s a little bit of an irrational reason for me to dislike somebody but I’m trying to move past it as I don’t watch TV anymore, strictly movies or TV shows on Netflix which thankfully have no advert breaks. My wife wanted to watch this movie as she said it used to frighten her when she watched it as a kid and as I hadn’t seen it I was more than fine with giving it a try.

Kevin Bacon is the star of Stir of Echoes as he plays Tom, just a regular guy who works as a utilities lineman and lives with his wife, Maggie and son, Jake. One evening at a party he gets hypnotised despite not being a believer in that kind of stuff until he starts seeing things and having crazy, nightmare-ish visions. His visions are in the form of Samantha, a local girl who went missing around six months ago and nobody knows whether she was killed or just ran away. When the visions start to become more intense Tom begins to act more irrationally and crazy as he sets out on a quest to find out what happened to Samantha. Upon discovering the truth he’s in for a rude awakening as some of his closest friends have known since the beginning and didn’t want the word getting out.

Stir of Echoes is intense and thrilling and Kevin Bacon, despite my hesitation towards watching his movies, does superbly well as the lead. His character mentally undergoes some heavy changes and Bacon does a wonderful job at displaying a full range of emotions as Tom begins freaking out when he can’t find what he’s supposed to be looking for. It’s hard to properly categorise this movie as for many it’s a bit of a horror movie but for me it’s more of a mystery thriller with a splash of horror mixed in to keep the audience on the edge of their seats. While some of the ideas of the movie aren’t exactly original, the story is told very well and the acting from all involved compliment the tone of the movie. The one thing I didn’t quite understand was why it was necessary for Kevin Bacon’s character to have these really badly drawn on tattoos which looked horribly fake and didn’t add anything to his character or story by having them, just a weird decision.

I have no idea why but little kids in horror type movies always freak me out. I don’t know what it is about kids within the genre but they are usually extremely creepy with blank, vacant looks on their faces and it weirds me out watching them. Movies such as Case 39, The Shining, Pet Semetary and The Omen all involve creepy children and initially I thought I was going to add Stir of Echoes to that list. Jake, who is Tom’s son, is able to see and communicate with Samantha before anybody is aware of who she is and at the beginning the way he was talking and what he was saying to this mysterious figure was really creepy and sets the rest of the movie up very well.

Overall, Stir of Echoes was extremely thrilling which remains tense throughout and has the audience captivated and on the edge of their seats. This performance from Kevin Bacon has slightly won me over to give him a second chance and check out more of his movies. Definitely worth a watch.

8/10

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