Like the Peter Jackson version of King Kong, I didn’t particularly like Stir of Echoes when I saw it at the theater in September of 1999. God, it’s hard to believe twelve years have passed since then. The thing is The Sixth Sense had just come out in August of that year, and Stir of Echoes reminded of it a little because of the little boy who sees ghosts. Also, I could see the ending coming a mile away. I didn’t feel surprised in any way by the film. I actually thought the writer/director had cheated somewhat with what they did at the end and didn’t appreciate it.
Well, I found a new copy of the Special Edition of Stir of Echoes on sale for a couple of bucks and decided to give it another chance. I watched it and actually liked the movie better now than I originally had twelve years before, though I still feel the ending was a little bit of a cheat. I don’t want to give it away, but if you’ve seen the movie, I think you’ll know exactly what I’m talking about with a gunshot going off in the basement of the house.
The story is about blue-collar worker, Tom Witzky (Kevin Bacon), who isn’t where he feels he should be at this stage of his life. He’s not doing what he loves, he’s not making the money he wants, and his wife is pregnant with their second child on the way. At a party, his sister-in-law hypnotizes him and leaves the suggestion that his mind reminds open to any and everything afterwards.
Unfortunately for Tom, he starts seeing the ghost of a girl who supposedly ran away from the neighborhood several months before. His son, Jake (Zachary David Cope), is already talking to her and thinks nothing of it. Tom gets agitated by the ghost and wonders if he’s going crazy. His wife, Maggie (Kathryn Erbe), refuses to believe anything out of the ordinary is even happening.
Over a period of weeks, Tom starts seeing the ghost more and more. He finds out about the girl who ran away from their babysitter, who is the girl’s sister. Tom knows the girl is dead and soon begins to search for her body in the backyard and in the house his family is renting. Will Tom find the body of the dead girl? If so, who killed her and what will happen to Tom and his family? It’s not difficult to figure out the answers to these questions like I did when I first saw it.
This time around, I was able to appreciate the storyline and the acting of all the performers. It’s actually a pretty good tale of the supernatural and how people often refuse to accept the strange things that go on in their lives. I watched it with interest and found myself getting caught up in the mystery even though I already knew the answers.
This isn’t a bad film and probably deserved more attention than it got in 1999.
There are about forty minutes of behinds-the-scenes footage on the making of the film with short discussions with Richard Matheson, whose novel the film is based on, as well as the director and actors in the movie.
If you haven’t seen this film, you might want to give it a shot. And no, Kevin Bacon doesn’t dance to Footloose in this.