It seems this is the summer for deeply chilling psychological horror movies, and "Stir of Echoes" comes close to giving champs "The Blair Witch Project" and "The Sixth Sense a good run for their money.
A spine-tingler about a blue-collar Chicago joe (Kevin Bacon) who -- after being hypnotized at a party -- becomes an unwilling "receiver" for the wishes of the dead, "Stir of Echoes" yields almost as many goose bumps in its first hour as those other heart-pounding flicks, thanks in part to Bacon's exhausting, frenetic performance.
Once this door to the other side has been opened in his head, he descends into apparent madness as he experiences flashes of violence deaths in his head and hallucinates other horrors, like the ghost of a dead neighbor girl who torments him with rage-filled but vague and apparitional suggestions of just vengeance against her unnamed assailants.
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"This could be your 'Sixth Sense,'" someone probably told Kevin Costner when pitching him the concept for the beyond-the-grave chiller "Dragonfly" -- "could" being the operative word. Just how spine-tingling this movie seems will depend entirely on how attune you are to its sometimes heavy-handed foreshadowing.
It wouldn't be fair to give away any of the clues to the movie's conclusion in this review because while, in retrospect, the equation is as simple as 2 + 2, for the better part of the film the formula is obscured by allusionary symbolism that is sometimes quite effective and other times downright obtuse. Figure it out when the director wants you to -- a few minutes before the end, of course -- and you'll get those tingles. Catch on too early to the big red flags and you'll have nothing to do but note the movie's many other shortcomings.
Costner plays Dr. Joe Darrow, an emergency room surgeon whose life is turned upside-down when his saintly pediatrician wife (Susanna Thompson from TV's "Once and Again") is killed in a bus accident while on a humanitarian mission in the jungles of Venezuela.
Continue reading: Dragonfly Review