Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Movie Review: Stir Of Echoes 3 ½ Stars

This is a terrific supernatural murder mystery that unfortunately was released right on the heels of the monstrously successful The Sixth Sense and will no doubt draw countless comparisons. And we all know, comparisons are odious. Indeed, the two films share many similarities, but each must be judged on its own merits. While The Sixth Sense is, to quote Churchill completely out of context, “a riddle wrapped in a mystery inside an enigma,” Stir Of Echoes is a suspense thriller, its supernatural twist adding a healthy dose of “boo” to the thrills.

Blue collar Chicagoan Tom Witzky (Kevin Bacon), dreaming of being more important than his job as a telephone company lineman, is hypnotized at a party by his sister-in-law, Lisa (Illeana Douglas). His regression unlocks clairvoyant abilities and Tom begins to see unmentionable horrors. When he discovers his five-year-old son, Jake (Zachary David Cope) has the same innate psychic powers, their peaceful homelife is shattered. Meanwhile, Tom’s wife, Maggie (Kathyrn Erbe) thinks they’ve all gone insane.

As Tom and Jake are driven forward to solve the mystery, Maggie soon realizes there might be something to the lunacy. The sightings begin to become more meaningful when a string of seeming circumstances unveils clues to the disappearance of a pretty but slow-witted local girl, Samantha Kozack (Jennifer Morrison). Quickly this quiet Northside neighborhood is turned on its ear.

Written and directed by famed screenwriter David Koepp (Jurassic Park, Mission Impossible), Stir Of Echoes is buoyed by powerful performances from Bacon, Erbe and young Cope and a cast of top notch supporting actors including Kevin Dunn and Illeana Douglas.

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