Review Date: March 5, 2000
Released by: Artisan
Release date: 2000
Region 1, NTSC
Widescreen 1.85:1 | 16x9: Yes
Tom Witzky (Kevin Bacon) is just your ordinary everyday Joe. After his wife Maggie (Kathryn Erbe) informs him that she is pregnant with their second child, he promises her that he's not always going to be so plain and ordinary, and that he won't always be cutting cable for a living. Little does Tom realize how right he is.
At a party Tom allows himself to be hypnotized by sister-in-law Lisa (Illena Douglas). During the hypnotizm Tom is told to keep his mind open. Soon after he begins to see many strange images but never for long enough to get a clear understanding of what they are. Once out of the hypnotizm Tom begins to see what he believes are hallucinations - flashes of violence and the ghost of a young woman. Soon, however, Tom realizes that they aren't just hallucinations. After his son Jake (Zachary David Cope) claims to have been talking to Samantha, a local girl who disappeared months back, Tom believes that Samantha is the young woman he's beeing seeing in his images. He believes that she is communicating with both himself and his son from beyond the grave.
Tom tries to have Lisa undo what she has done to him but once back into his hypnotic state he immediately begins to see the image of the ghost haunting him, which triggers him to break out of the hypnotic state. Tom must try and solve the mystery of what happend to Samantha so he can give this ghost peace and free himself of the hauntings. This leads him down a path of shocking truth which forces him to fight to keep himself and his family alive.
This turned out to be a movie that I didn't expect much from but was pleasantly surprised. Director David Koepp, who also wrote the screenplay adapted from the novel "A Stir of Echoes", does a wonderful job keeping the movie moving with a tense, dark atmosphere that keeps you on the edge of your seat. I was actually a bit scared by the movie, which at this point in my life is always a pleasant surprise. The film also has a fantastic score which greatly helps building the creepy atmosphere in the film.
Artisan presents Stir of Echoes widescreen in it's original theatrical ratio of 1.85:1, anamorphically (16x9) enhanced for widescreen TVs. Though users should take note that both the DVD packaging and the disc itself claims that it's "16:9 Fullscreen Version", which is an error. The transfer is flawless with a sharp image and solid colors. The film has a lot of dark scenes containing strong, solid blacks. Wonderful job done by Artisan here.
Presented in Dolby Digital 5.1, Stir of Echoes sounds excellent. Dialogue is generally clear but there is a bit of hiss in the background. The sound is definitely not as impressive as the transfer is but it probably sounds as good as it ever will.
Commentary by Directory David Koepp was quite good. It's not the type of commentary I'd listen to multiple times, but I really enjoyed it this one time. David keeps you interested throughout the entire film commenting on the technicals of the movie, the actors performances and explains why certain scenes were shot the way they were. You can tell he was definitely a huge fan of the book that this movie is based on too. Definitely worth a listen.
Next is a short five minute featurette that is basically a long trailer for the movie, though it does contain some interviews with the director and actors from the film. Nothing exciting or informative on the featurette really, but better than nothing. Also included is some behind-the-scenes footage. It basically shows Director David Koepp doing this directing stuff with the various actors from the film. Lastly we have four TV spots, theatrical trailer, production notes, music video, cast & crew bios,
This certainly won't satisfy fans looking for gore, but for anyone looking for a nice thriller to watch with their girlfriend, Stir of Echoes delivers a chilling experience that should not be pissed. Given the high level of entertainment this movie provides, along with all the extras at a cost of $29.99, I have no problem any fans of horror thrillers rush out and buy this movie today. Artisan delivers a great audio/visual presentation with a large amount of extras at a fair price. If you can't round up the cash to buy this one definitely rent it - every horror fan should see this film at least once, if not make it a permanent part of their collection.
Movie - B
Image Quality - A
Sound - A-
Supplements - A-
- Running time - 1 hour 34 minutes
- Rated R
- 1 Disc
- Chapter stops
- Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround sound
- Commentary with Director David Koepp
- Theatrical trailer
- Cast and Crew Information
- TV Spots
- Production Notes
- Music Video