A Stir Of Echoes

  • 1999
  • 1 HR 50 MIN
  • R
  • Drama, Horror, Thriller

Ignore the inevitable unflattering comparisons to surprise blockbuster THE SIXTH SENSE, even though both films revolve around a youngster who sees dead people. SIXTH SENSE may have the boffo twist ending, but this is by far the better film on a sustained level, and features what has to be one of the creepiest first half-hours in recent film history. Regular...read more

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Reviewed by Maitland McDonagh
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Ignore the inevitable unflattering comparisons to surprise blockbuster THE SIXTH SENSE, even though both films revolve around a youngster who sees dead people. SIXTH SENSE may have the boffo twist ending, but this is by far the better film on a sustained level, and features what has to be one of the creepiest first half-hours in recent film history. Regular guy Tom Witzkey (Kevin Bacon) has made a solid life for himself, his devoted wife Maggie (Kathryn Erbe) and their precocious son Jake (Zachary David Cope). They've recently rented a

house in a solid, working class Chicago neighborhood, and Maggie is pregnant again. The trouble begins innocuously enough; there's a party, drinking, and an argument about hypnosis between Maggie's college-educated sister (Illeana Douglas) and the down-to-earth Tom. On a dare, he allows her to

hypnotize him, and she leaves behind what she thinks is a harmless post-hypnotic suggestion -- that he be more open-minded. Unfortunately, his mind is suddenly an open door, and all manner of spooky things step through, whispering and afflicting Tom with terrifying visions. More unsettlingly, he

realizes that little Jake hears them too, and always has. Tom's awakening ends with a truly chilling apparition; it's almost a relief when the story shifts into lower gear as Tom realizes that he's getting a message about some long-buried wrong, and swears to find out what it is. Bacon gives a

fine, affecting performance as a guy whose eyes have been opened to something he'd just as soon not have seen, and Cope is a genuinely likable child actor; you'd love to protect Jake from the dead and their oppressive needs. Working from a novel by sci-fi legend Richard Matheson, writer turned

director David Koepp has fashioned a scary, intelligent thriller that remains haunting long after it's over.

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  • Released: 1999
  • Rating: R
  • Review: Ignore the inevitable unflattering comparisons to surprise blockbuster THE SIXTH SENSE, even though both films revolve around a youngster who sees dead people. SIXTH SENSE may have the boffo twist ending, but this is by far the better film on a sustained l… (more)

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