During the invasion of Iraq, the National Guard Commander Ted Cogan sees a van speeding up against his site without respecting the warning plates. He orders his men to fire, and later he discovers that in the van there was an Iraqi family. He tries to save a young girl from the fire, but the vehicle explodes and his group is attacked; he enters in coma severely wounded and his friend and neighbor dies. When Ted recovers, he returns home to meet his family, but he is increasingly haunted by ghosts of dead people, premonitions and guilty complex for the death of the innocent family. He seeks medical support but his financial situation does not allow him to pay for a treatment and the government denies helping him. However, one ghost gives the name of Jake Witzky, who tells him to find out what the spirit demands from him. When his son Max is severely wounded in a car crash where his girlfriend Sammi and their friend Luke die, Ted discovers the wish of justice of the tormented soul and ... Written by
Claudio Carvalho, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
In "Stir Of Echoes", the always watchable Kevin Bacon played a man who began to see restless spirits after being hypnotised at a party and subsequently uncovered a terrible crime. "Stir Of Echoes: The Homecoming" utilises this premise and gives it a twist. Our main character here is U.S Patrol Captain Ted Cogan who is forced to give the order which leads to the death of a family in Iraq. He is also wounded and falls into a coma which - much like the hypnosis from the first movie - turns him into a 'receiver', able to see the ghosts around him.
"Stir Of Echoes: The Homecoming" uses the horror genre to comment on the situation in Iraq and its effect on Americans back home. For example, early in the story we have a party in which one of Cogan's neighbours makes a racist joke which results in laughter from some and an outburst of anger from Cogan. It's an interesting idea but, unfortunately, the script is not quite strong enough to quite carry it off. There's a good idea at work here but the movie comes off as far too preachy in places for its own good.
The horror aspects are well done and very interesting. As the ghosts haunting Cogan become more frustrated and aggressive, their attacks become increasingly more violent. Much like Bacon's character in the first movie, Cogan also experiences various hallucinations related to future events. I certainly can't fault the work of director Ernie Barbarish who manages to stretch a small budget out so the movie looks great.
If I had to point out the areas where this movie fails, the most obvious area is the casting of Rob Lowe as Cogan. It would be hard for any actor to follow Kevin Bacon but Lowe appears to sleepwalk through most of the movie. There are moments when you glimpse him come alive but, for the most part, he seems to be there just to pick up his money which is a shame. The second failing of the movie comes with its conclusion which simply didn't sit right with me at all.
Strangely, Bacon's son from the original "Stir Of Echoes" appears in a cameo role in this movie but has been greatly aged which suggests that the sequel takes place many years later. Although it was a nice way to tie the two movies together, this decision ultimately baffled me.
Despite its flaws, its still a watchable movie. If you enjoyed the first movie, then you might still enjoy "Stir Of Echoes: The Homecoming" if you can forgive its sledgehammer approach to racism and the current situation in Iraq. Unfortunately, if you've seen the first movie then you'll also probably realise where the story is going due to certain similarities in its plot. Is it worth purchasing on DVD? No. Is it worth a rental? Well, if you like supernatural horror movies then there are certainly worse ways to spend an hour and a half.
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