So you like ghost movies, eh? I do too. In fact, when utilized effectively, paranormal flicks tend to be my favorite within horror’s extensive catalog. Films such as Poltergeist, The Orphanage, The Changeling and The Shining come to mind as some of the greatest examples of the subgenre, but there’s one particular title that never seems to get the praise in which it deserves: Stir of Echoes.
Released at the turn of the century in 1999, Stir of Echoes flew under the radar for most people- something that holds unfortunately true to this day. Written and directed by David Koepp, one of the co-writers of Jurassic Park and Mission: Impossible, the film follows a working class father in Chicago, who, like his young son, gains the ability to communicate with the dead.
Balancing the common tropes of paranormal films with an investing central mystery, Stir of Echoes benefits from a committed performance by Kevin Bacon as Tom Witzky. In the film, Tom is an average man who works hard to support his wife and young son, but after being hypnotized, he begins experiencing visions of a missing 17-year-old girl and the violent scuffle that may have sealed her fate.
Becoming obsessed with the visions, mystery, and sense of purpose that have been suddenly cast upon him, Tom begins to lose a grip on his sanity as he frantically tries to find out exactly what happened to the girl he keeps seeing. Kevin Bacon shines as Witzky, capturing his good intentions and escalating madness, but also the relatability of someone who has sacrificed their dreams for a normal, apple-pie sort of life.
While the film doesn’t aim for the hardcore scares of supernatural flicks such as The Conjuring or its sequel, it features several moments of genuine creepiness to go along with its thrilling mystery and character exploration. So, if you’re in the mood for a ghostly, emotionally-resonant thrill-ride of a horror film, give Stir of Echoes a try. You won’t regret it.
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