Stir of Echoes (1999)
Another one? Yes and no, you see Stir of Echoes may be the latest supernatural scare-fest released but it proves itself a worthy competitor to The Sixth Sense. Director Koepp, the man among boys when it comes to screenwriting, provides enough eerie chills through the movie without having to go back to the well for any cheap scares much. The direction and unveiling of the story is very well done for the movie’s overall tone.
The meat and bones of this picture is Kevin Bacon. He throws down all the doors and delivers a riveting performance that is most likely his career best. But what about Wild Things you say? Well indeed Kevin showed his bacon in that movie, but in Stir of Echoes he beautifully captures a man breaking down by forces he can’t understand or control. He is magnetic with his character and provides real merit to the film’s compelling case for credibility in The Sixth Sense‘s powerful shadow. Another bright face in the movie is Kathryn Erbe playing Bacon’s suffering and distant significant other. She delivers a rock-solid performance to coexist with Bacon’s descent into madness. She may not get the credit she deserves but she quietly shows her acting prowess in every scene she’s in.
The movie does seem to run out of gas 3/4 of the way through, switching over from mysterious supernatural chiller to run-of-the-mill revenge from beyond the grave scenario. The end is mostly predictable but no less effective. Some of the characters could have been fleshed out better to have more purpose for the finale but I guess you can live with how things are.
In any other given summer Stir of Echoes would be destined to be a critical and commercial success, but then along came The Sixth Sense. True that there are some similar plot points but both movies are worth while complete with some chills themselves. Stir of Echoes does deserve to get more than a look in this new genre that’s being heavily populated by filth. Besides, it’ll allow you a few more people to link to Kevin Bacon whenever a party game arises.
Nate’s Grade: B