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Stir of Echoes (1999)

Film review: Stir of Echoes (1999), directed by David Koepp

Sceptic Tom Witzky (Kevin Bacon) doesn’t believe you can see dead people. At a party one night he challenges his sister-in-law Lisa (Illeana Douglas) to hypnotise him. The hypnotic suggestion is for him to have more of an open mind, and, sure enough, after that he starts having strange and violent visions … that turn out to have something to do with a missing teenager, Samantha Kozac (Jennifer Morrison).

And it just so happens that Tom’s son Jake (Zachary David Cope), who does see dead people, has a new friend … called Samantha, who lives in the same neighbourhood. Or at least she used to. Maybe.

Cue increasingly odd behaviour from Tom as he’s frantically trying to locate the body of the presumed dead girl, whom he believes is trying to reach out to him in order to be found. But where is she? Why was she murdered, and by whom? All he has to go on, after all, are strange visions and nightmares. Is it all in his head? Not so sceptical now, is he?

Also starring Kathryn Erbe as Maggie Witzky, Kevin Dunn as Frank McCarthy, Liza Weil as Debbie Kozac, Conor O’Farrell as Harry Damon, Steve Rifkin as Kurt Damon, and Chalon Williams as Adam McCarthy.

This supernatural thriller really delivered. The main character goes from “ahh, this is all hogwash” to, well, digging up his own back yard trying to find a girl who might or might not be dead. It’s eerie, and if memory serves me correctly, even the hypnosis scenes were plausible. That’s the sort of film I can get behind.

The ending was perhaps not a great shocker, but the road leading up to it was really interesting and spooky and kept me glued to my seat. Is Tom having visions of a dead girl, trying to have her missing body found and her killer put to justice … or is Tom actually gradually losing his mind and becoming insane? Well played, Kevin Bacon, well played.

4 out of 5 ripped up floorboards.

Traxy

An easily distracted Swedish introvert residing in Robin Hood Country (Nottingham, UK) with a husband and two cats. She's an eager participant in tabletop and play-by-post roleplaying, woodworking, photography and European travel, when there's not a plague on.

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