“You should open these doors with care and caution-but, first, you must know how to close them. And above all, you must know which doors should be left unopened...”
~ Michael Bentine, Doors Of The Mind
Stir Of Echoes is one of those films that are painfully underrated, to the point where people may forget it until you actually remind them about it. What's so great about this movie is that you cannot compartmentalize into one singular genre. It has the ability to be a human drama, a horror, a mystery, a psychological as well as a supernatural thriller. It has characters that anyone, especially everyday middle class people, can relate to. It contains moments within the picture that most people can relate to in some form or another.
This film is based on the 1958 novel by acclaimed writer Richard Matheson, whom, over many decades, has captivated people with this books, short stories (some that have been turned into films such as "I Am Legend", "Duel", "Real Steel", "What Dreams May Come" and "Button, Button" [to which became the film "The Box"]), and his work writing for the TV show The Twilight Zone. Stir Of Echoes is about a husband and a father named Tom Witzky (Kevin Bacon) who is at a cross roads in his life, being a family man to his wife Maggie (Kathryn Erbe) and son Jake (Zachary David Cope), until one night at a party he attends with Maggie and her sister Lisa (Illeana Douglas), as a party trick she hypnotizes him. It is from then on that Tom begins to experience bizarre visions and nightmares he cannot begin to explain, and frequent visits from a ghost (Once Upon A Time's Jennifer Morrison). But soon enough, this extraordinary thing that has happened to an ordinary man begins to consume him, and he becomes obsessed over trying to solve what it is he's going through and why it's happening to him.
What I find particularly clever about the way the script was put together and the way the movie played out, was that it was like a puzzle. There were all these pieces that didn't seem to fit or make sense at first. But then it throws in a ghostly element and suddenly things seem a bit more clear, but you still don't have the whole picture yet. You never know more than the protagonist, you only see what he sees and nothing more. Which adds to the suspense and mystery of the story and keeps you wanting to know what's going to happen next.
And it's a testament to just how well the film was constructed, lead by writer/director and Wisconsin native, David Koepp. Who is known for writing some of the most memorable motion pictures over the past 23 years! With titles to his name like "Death Becomes Her", "Jurassic Park", "Carlito's Way", "Mission: Impossible", "The Lost World: Jurassic Park", "Snake Eyes", "Panic Room", "Secret Window", "War Of The Worlds" & "Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull". What I love most about David Koepp's work is that even if he's directing a movie he has ultimately written himself, he always approaches it as a writer first. All the action and spectacle comes second to the development of the characters, their emotion and the story itself, and somehow manages to all blend well together. That's what really shines through in Stir Of Echoes! You'll definitely have your scares, but you'll certainly be captivated by the story as well!
Stir Of Echoes Movie Review
by Phillip Wilcox "Our Movie Demon"