e-mail:Smokey X. Digger
Stir of Echoes
1999, Dir. David Koepp
Easy ways to tell that you're dealing with an idiot:
1. They bought one of those "Make 7up Yours" t shirts.
2. They think Kid Rock's "Bawitdaba" has any kind of artistic merit.
3. They thought Stir of Echoes was good.
I have never been more let down than I was by the scary movie crop of 1999 (except for Godzilla 1998, but that goes without saying). Blair Witch was excellent, as was The Sixth Sense. The Haunting was not. Nor was Stigmata. I couldn't bear to drag myself to House On Haunted Hill. And then there's Stir of Echoes, the runner up in the "Movie in which a cute annoying kid sees ghosts" category of 1999 (psst, there were only two). Despite the fact that this movie is forever doomed to be overshadowed by The Sixth Sense, it took just as much from The Shining and from a story I read in Sports Illustrated about a bunch of high school jocks who gang raped a slightly retarded girl.
So Kevin Bacon, forever striving for rock 'n' roll credibility, plays Tom, a struggling rocker who works for the electric company. He and his wife Maggie have an annoying child who sees ghosts and talks to the camera. Tom is informed by Maggie's dipshit aspiring witch sister Lisa that his wife's pregnant. "She's a witch, she took one look at me and knew!" Anyway, at a party, Tom scoffs at Lisa's abilities and she offers to hypnotize him. He agrees, and isn't quite the same afterwards. He begins having strange dreams and hallucinations. He senses his son being kidnapped, and has a premonition about the boy down the street killing himself. He also starts seeing a ghost and becomes obssessed with it to the point where it becomes a strain on his marriage.
So, aping Jack Nicholson's typing in The Shining, Tom starts digging. In the yard, in the house, digging. This is just one nod (read: rip - off) to the Kubrick classic. There is also a black man who is capable of "seeing" that acknowledges the ability in the boy. Tom eventually discovers the corpse of the ghost girl walled up in the basement (a la Poe's "Black Cat") , who it turns out was raped and killed by a bunch of high school jocks, one of which was the boy who killed himself, apparently out of guilt.
The only good thing about this film is that it's somewhat accurate in it's portrayal of a man who's unrecognized "seeing" abilities are left open. When Tom calls Lisa to demand to know what's going on, she casually tells him that she left his perception open after the hypnotism. Now, having participated in several "circles" with an actual medium, I know that the most important thing is the opening and closing of the circle, in which each person opens and closes their receptiveness to psychic phenomena. A good medium would never, no matter what, leave any of the participants of a circle open. Now, you're not neccessarily gonna bug out and become clairvoyant, but funky shit will happen.
IN CLOSING: Ooh, sorry Kev, didn't realize you were that sore about it. At least My Dog Skip wasn't a derivative piece of shit. Don't waste your time with this crap, rent The Shining and The Sixth Sense instead. But I must confess I liked the punked up version of "Paint It Black" by whoever that was.