Horror Review: Stir Of Echoes (1999)

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.

The 90’s had a few gems amongst the rubbish, this was one of them.

Having been a big Kevin Bacon fan for many years he was my initial draw towards this film, he puts in another amazing performance here, he is a consistently great actor in my opinion.
The film’s tone reminds me of the Japanese supernatural films such as “Dark Water” and the like, this is no bad comparison as it’s not often American films can capture this atmosphere.
This film had one major downfall, it was released just ba few short weeks after “Sixth Sense” had blown up the box office talk about bad timing. Just imagine what could’ve happened had if it was the other way around.
This film is apparently loosely based on the novel of the same name by Richard Matheson, I haven’t actually read the book so I couldn’t tell you the differences.
“Stir Of Echoes” is highly¬†suspenseful and criminally underrated, if you haven’t already then give it a viewing.
If you want to see the “Stir Of Echoes” trailer then just click on the video below:
Miscellaneous facts about the film:
In the hypnotism flashback scene, there is a scene of a safety pin being stuck through Tom’s hand. This was not a special effect – a stunt man was paid to come in and have a safety pin pushed through his hand for the scene.
The hypnosis sequence in which Tom (Kevin Bacon) is hypnotized for the first time follows actual hypnosis techniques used by professional hypnotists. In order to ensure that the audience hasn’t been put to sleep (and some susceptible people have been), there’s a musical accent at the close of the sequence to wake everyone up.
In the scene where Tom gets angry after digging in the back yard and kicks the bucket towards the wall, it was not suppose to hit and break the window. This was a “happy accident” and it could be used in the film as Kevin Bacon stayed in character and continued the scene.
On the couch, the babysitter reads “The Shrinking Man” by Richard Matheson, author of “A Stir of Echoes”, the basis for this film.
When they were setting up the scene where Maggie leaves Jake at her relative’s house, it was realized that they had gone over the number of hours the child actor that plays Jake could work (due to strict Hollywood child labor laws). Crew members had to run from house to house in the neighborhood they were filming in to find a child who looked enough like him to appear as a background character (after their parents’ approval and a very quick hair cut) to be able to complete the shot.
During the scene in the Witzky’s backyard where Tom is digging, the actor Kevin Bacon was in a lot of pain as he had pulled a muscle in his neck. Several “prop” lightweight picks were tested for the scene to try and ease his suffering but in the end it was opted to use the real (and heavier) pick as the swings and impacts didn’t look real enough on screen.
Kathryn Erbe’s tattoo on her back reads “T + M” (standing for her husband Terry and her daughter Mave) and features a heart around the letters. This inspired the exact same tattoo placed on the inside of Kevin Bacon’s forearm, which stands for the two actors characters, Tom and Maggie.
Jake Witzky watches The Mummy’s Shroud (1967) on TV when his mother tells him to turn it off. Night of the Living Dead (1968) then appears on every channel as he attempts to turn off the TV.
The scene where Maggie is sitting in the car in the rain was shot on a night when it actually was raining very heavily, but the rain did not look “real” on film. The crew had to set up an awning to cover the car from the rain, then rig up rain making equipment under the awning to achieve the look of “real” rain.
In an earlier version of David Koepp’s script, there were some important differences from the finished movie:
Maggie Witzky’s hypnotist sister Lisa was actually a brother called Philip.
To find out what was wrong with him, Tom Witzky had an MRI scan done by a cousin of Maggie’s, a neurologist named Elizabeth.
We found out that Tom Witzky had first met his wife while working as a lifeguard. His psychic abilities helped save her from drowning.
Instead of accusing the Witzkys of having something to do with her sister’s disappearance, the young babysitter was worried they were abusing their son. Tom found out she was being abused by her stepfather and chased him out of town.
At the end of the movie, Maggie gave birth to a girl with the same psychic abilities as the couple’s son.
The hypnotist, played by Illeana Douglas, is called Lisa Weil. The babysitter, is played by actress Liza Weil.
During the hypnosis session, Kevin Bacon is told to imagine a movie theatre where everything is painted black (walls, chairs, everything but the screen). Later, during the rape scene, a stereo plays the Rolling Stones song “Paint it Black”, performed by Gob.
The Writers Guild of America denied Andrew Kevin Walker a screenplay credit for his script-doctoring work on this film, so he receives “special thanks” in the end credits.
The bar front used in the block party scene is not a real building. It was lit in a parking lot on Evergreen and Milwaukee Avenues on the near north side in Wicker Park, right off the Damen (Blue Line) El stop. Also, the Old Style sign hanging in front of the bar is how many bars in Chicago look, but most of the time the sign reads “Old Style On Tap”.
A lot of people on blogs have wondered how the “creepwalk” was filmed. Here’s the secret. The speed of the camera was sped up, and the actress was told to walk as slowly but to appear as naturally as possible. Then when it was time to edit the scene in, they played the footage normal speed and all the “imperfections” in her walk add to the beauty of how creepy it looks.

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