Updated: Mar 12, 2020
“After being hypnotized by his sister in law, a man begins seeing haunting visions of a girl’s ghost and a mystery begins to unfold around them.”
Review by Kelly
Stir of Echoes was inspired by the 1958 book by Richard Matheson (I am Legend, The Shrinking Man, etc) of the same name. Part supernatural tale, part murder mystery, this 1999 movie was one I loved when it came out. Starring Kevin Bacon and Kathryn Erbe (The Mighty Ducks!!), it is a very relatable story about your average, blue collar working family. Except it seems that their child can see ghosts (why are children so creepy?!) and secrets are afoot in their community.
After being successfully hypnotized, Tom, the skeptic, starts seeing images of someone being attacked and a ghostly girl around his home. His mind and family starts to unravel as he tries, simultaneously, to unravel the mystery surrounding this girl. When his little boy, Jake, says to him “You’re awake now, Daddy”, that means much more than him being alert at an early hour; he is now open to receiving messages from another, unearthly world. How does anyone even start to explain this, or better yet, comprehend it? As someone who has never, ever, experienced any supernatural phenomenon, despite experimenting with seances and a Ouija board, I can strongly relate to the terrible communication between Tom and his family/friends and the frustration felt when there isn’t a lot of concrete information to go on. It’s all incredibly cryptic and vague but what he does have is the drive to solve this mystery at all costs.
“Does it hurt to be dead?”, asks Jake to the unseen presence in the bathroom. This opening scene sent shivers up my spine on first watch.
This movie has a few relatively effective jump scares but it is a more subtle type of ghost story. The more sinister part of the film is how far parents will go to protect their children, especially when their privileged futures are at stake. Or even how far people will go to “protect” their safe, little community. Honestly, I enjoy the murder mystery part more than the horror! It’s light on the horror but does provide some good, moody atmosphere. It’s definitely worth a watch or a re-visit if you haven’t seen it since the 90s. It’s a solid ghost flick.
Have I mentioned yet how damn sexy Kevin Bacon is in this movie?
If you liked this movie, then check out other similar films such as The Sixth Sense (1999), What Lies Beneath (2000) and The Innkeepers (2011).