7.0/10
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380 user 167 critic

Stir of Echoes (1999)

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ON DISC
After being hypnotized by his sister-in-law, a man begins seeing haunting visions of a girl's ghost and a mystery begins to unfold around him.

Director:

David Koepp

Writers:

Richard Matheson (novel), David Koepp (screenplay)
3 wins & 1 nomination. See more awards »

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Photos

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Zachary David Cope ... Jake
Kevin Bacon ... Tom
Kathryn Erbe ... Maggie
Illeana Douglas ... Lisa
Kevin Dunn ... Frank
Conor O'Farrell ... Harry
Lusia Strus ... Sheila
Stephen Eugene Walker Stephen Eugene Walker ... Bobby
Mary Kay Cook ... Vanessa
Larry Neumann Jr. ... Lenny
Jennifer Morrison ... Samantha (as Jenny Morrison)
Richard Cotovsky ... Neighborhood Man
Steve Rifkin Steve Rifkin ... Kurt
Chalon Williams Chalon Williams ... Adam
Liza Weil ... Debbie the Babysitter
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Storyline

A man is hypnotized at a party by his sister-in law. He soon has visions and dreams of a ghost of a girl. Trying to avoid this, nearly pushes him to brink of insanity as the ghost wants something from him - to find out how she died. The only way he can get his life back is finding out the truth behind her death. The more he digs, the more he lets her in, the shocking truth behind her death puts his whole family in danger.

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

In every mind there is a door that has never been opened. See more »


Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for violence, sexuality and language | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Official Sites:

Official Facebook

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

10 September 1999 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Stir of Echoes See more »

Filming Locations:

Chicago, Illinois, USA See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$12,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$5,811,664, 12 September 1999, Wide Release

Gross USA:

$21,133,087, 2 January 2000
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Artisan Entertainment See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Dolby Digital | SDDS

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

In the scene where Tom gets angry after digging in the backyard, and kicks the bucket towards the wall, it was not supposed to hit and break the window. This was a "happy accident", and it was used in the film, as Kevin Bacon stayed in character, and continued the scene. See more »

Goofs

When Tom is digging, his hands are dirty. When he starts arguing with his wife and waving his hands around, they are clean. See more »

Quotes

[first lines]
Jake Witzky: [to someone] Okay. Guess who came over to play...
[singing]
Jake Witzky: Superheros. I was Black Power Ranger. He was Batman.
Tom Witzky: Jake, you okay in there buddy?
Jake Witzky: I'm okay.
[to whoever else]
Jake Witzky: Can I ask you a question?
Tom Witzky: Okay, time to hit the sack.
[coming into the bathroom]
[...]
See more »

Alternate Versions

On the DVD director's commentary, David Koepp states that for the home video release, the two scenes where words appear blurred on a theatre screen were blurred even more with digital effects. He states that this is because on video, what the text said was obvious well before it should be known to the audience. See more »

Connections

References Close Encounters of the Third Kind (1977) See more »

Soundtracks

Nothing But The Shell
Performed by Steve Wynn
Written by Steve Wynn and Eric Ambel
Courtesy of Zero Hour Records
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Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

 
Horribly underrated
12 November 2000 | by mentalcriticSee all my reviews

In 1999, the media was in a frenzy about a new film that used real things to terrify and excite its audience. Stir Of Echoes was not it. Partly due to the studio's financial difficulties, Stir Of Echoes came and went by itself, unsung and unappreciated. Which goes to show that recognition in the Hollywood system does not go to innovators or the best storytellers. It is all about marketability, and while Stir Of Echoes had this, the companies involved in making or distributing it did not seem to want to spend the cash involved in taking advantage. Either that or Artisan and Fox decided to use it as their tax write-off for that year.

I have not read the novel by Richard Matheson, so I cannot comment on how faithfully the film follows its source. But that is irrelevant. When compared to its more big-name competitor, at least Stir Of Echoes has the courtesy to acknowledge its source. The film updates the story to a more modern era, thus saving a few dollars, since period pieces are expensive to make. In fact, the dramatic angle of the film keeps it rather cheap, since effects shots are few and far between. Not to mention the effects that do appear are fairly simple in nature. Indeed, Stir Of Echoes only cost about thirteen million to make, according to estimates. Which makes it all the more peculiar that Fox was unwilling to invest a little more effort in publicising the film.

Kevin Bacon is in fine, fine form as the film's central hero, a regular guy called Tom Witzky. Kathryn Erbe is also in great form as his wife, Maggie. Illeana Douglas is decidedly odd as his sister-in-law, Lisa. But the real surprise here is child performer Zachary David Cope. After the pretender, that pile of sachaarine garbage called The Sixth Sense, child stars had such a bad reputation that Zachary deserves a medal for portraying such a genuinely likable, layered character. Indeed, director David Koepp took one hell of a risk by placing so much of the responsibility for the plot on his shoulders. That it pays off is a testament not only to the strength of Zachary David Cope's performance, but to the strength of the material he was given. Indeed, all the best scenes in Stir Of Echoes involve interaction between Zachary, Kathryn, and Kevin.

I do think this film has its faults. Chief among them is that the story needed another ten minutes to properly develop. Plot threads like the group of psychics, a member of which helps put Kathryn Erbe's character on the path of greater understanding, needed better resolution. One moment, Maggie is asking this policeman why her husband is obsessed with a scene of memories to the exclusion of his job. The next moment, not only are details like the job forgotten, so too is the group and the policeman. Smoothing out intricate plot points such as this would have helped the story no end.

In the end, however, Stir Of Echoes is proof that the artistic work one does not hear about may just be the one that has more merit. If nothing else, it is worth watching to see a small ensemble cast that excels. Even small performances like Liza Weil's demonstrate a sense of dramatic flair that has long fled most of the rest of Hollywood. It is for this reason that I gave Stir Of Echoes an eight out of ten. It is worth watching just to see how badly misdirected the hype machine often is.


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