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Stir of Echoes (1999)



Average Rating: 6.4/10
Reviews Counted: 103
Fresh: 69 | Rotten: 34

Kevin Bacon's acting is so genuine that it's creepy and director David Keopp knows how to create true suspense.


Average Rating: 6.3/10
Critic Reviews: 27
Fresh: 19 | Rotten: 8

Kevin Bacon's acting is so genuine that it's creepy and director David Keopp knows how to create true suspense.



liked it
Average Rating: 3.4/5
User Ratings: 64,264

My Rating

Movie Info

In this supernatural thriller, Tom Witzky (Kevin Bacon) is a fairly typical working-class guy living in Chicago with his wife Maggie (Kathryn Erbe) and his son Jake (Zachary David Cope). One night at a party, Tom gets into a lively discussion with his sister-in-law, Lisa (Illeana Douglas), who believes in psychic communication and the power of hypnosis. He challenges Lisa to hypnotize him, and she plants in him a post-hypnotic suggestion to be more open-minded. But the results aren't quite what


Mystery & Suspense, Horror

David Koepp

Aug 21, 2001

Artisan Entertainment - Official Site External Icon

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All Critics (106) | Top Critics (27) | Fresh (69) | Rotten (34) | DVD (24)

[A] serious, atmospheric, character-driven supernatural drama.

December 10, 2007 Full Review Source: Chicago Reader
Chicago Reader
Top Critic IconTop Critic

The skillful shock cuts will make you jump out of your skin, but it's the digital visualisation of the ghostly Samantha which really makes the flesh crawl.

June 24, 2006 Full Review Source: Time Out
Time Out
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It has enough smarts to scare us, Sixth Sense or not.

January 1, 2000
Chicago Tribune
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The first two-thirds of the movie is engagingly spooky, more so than The Sixth Sense.

January 1, 2000
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Stir of Echoes gives a classic ghost story extra zip by insisting on the reality of the characters and their place.

January 1, 2000 Full Review Source: Detroit News
Detroit News
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Stir of Echoes might have worked just fine a few decades ago, but it now seems too simply schematic to spook us as much as it wants to.

January 1, 2000 | Comments (2)
Boston Globe
Top Critic IconTop Critic

...a stylish, sporadically gripping thriller that boasts a number of undeniably tense sequences and interludes...

January 14, 2010 Full Review Source: Reel Film Reviews
Reel Film Reviews

Stir Of Echoes is a scary, intelligent ghost story and thriller.

December 10, 2007 Full Review Source: Film4

I did receive a few chills and some kicks from it.

May 26, 2006 Full Review Source: Combustible Celluloid
Combustible Celluloid

It's nice to see he relied on more than heavy-handed filmmaking and a twist ending. I just hope audiences go for a supernatural thriller that's a little messier and doesn't feel the need to claw at their heart for two hours.

December 6, 2005 Full Review Source: Film Threat
Film Threat

The cast is uniformly good, with Bacon giving the strongest performance as blue-collar Tom.

April 9, 2005 Full Review Source: Reeling Reviews
Reeling Reviews

Bacon's performance is what makes it more than just another dead-person-walking-the-earth story. Bacon is truly a man possessed.

February 8, 2003 Full Review Source: Film Quips Online
Film Quips Online

Ultimately, it is Bacon's blue-collar conflict that resonates.

December 2, 2002 Full Review Source: Sight and Sound
Sight and Sound

A psychological thriller about the dark side of having highly developed psychic abilities.

August 21, 2002 Full Review Source: Spirituality and Practice
Spirituality and Practice

Disturbing imagery, great timing, and strong acting by the leads.

February 28, 2002 Full Review Source: Goatdog's Movies
Goatdog's Movies

A startling film that is exacting and personal and resonant.

February 21, 2002 Full Review Source: Matinee Magazine
Matinee Magazine

Even if the ending seems a bit tidy, the film is still effective and nicely creepy -- definitely worth seeing.

December 10, 2001 Full Review Source: Shadows on the Wall
Shadows on the Wall

Most of the echoes are stirred up from earlier, better movies.

September 27, 2001 Full Review Source:

Second-time director David Koepp steers clear of silly pyrotechnics and empty show as he anchors his supernatural thriller in Tom's daily rituals, employing the racket of city life and intelligent sound edits to crank up the tension.

April 17, 2001 Full Review Source:

...might have been a first-rate occult thriller if director Koepp had had the confidence to stick with the unearthly side of his tale.

April 7, 2001 | Comment (1)
Movie Metropolis

Another object lesson in ineptitude.

April 2, 2001 Full Review Source:

Not too many genre films reach too far below the surface, and Stir of Echoes is a welcome aberration.

February 27, 2001 Full Review Source: Q Network Film Desk
Q Network Film Desk

Stir kept me interested the entire time, but it was bit predictable.

February 14, 2001 Full Review Source: 3BlackChicks Review
3BlackChicks Review

Kevin Bacon is remarkably effective as the caring father whose skepticism is rudely ruptured.

February 14, 2001 Full Review Source: Urban Cinefile
Urban Cinefile

Audience Reviews for Stir of Echoes

This supernatural thriller from David Koepp concerns Tom Witzky- a typical working class resident of Chicago just trying to live a decent life with his wife and young son. When it comes to the supernatural, Tom is a skeptic, but agrees to play along when some friends want to engage in what should be some harmless hypnotizing.

Not long after this supposed bit of fun, Tom begins to feel the presence of evil, and see the spirit of a deceased girl who had disappeared earlier. This latter part sees him become determined to discover the truth about the girl, hopefully bringing her closure and allowing him to return to life the way he was used to.

This is based on work by Richard Matheson,and, though I'm not familiar with the source material, I really dug this when looking at it on its own terms. There's a nice, spooky atmosphere, a good sense of dread and mystery, and some decent performances. Kevin Bacon is good in the lead, Kathryn Erbe is okay as his wife (and I will admit that I didn't mind her brief nude scene), and I liked Illeana Douglas as the woman who gets it all started.

Give this one a look. It's a well made, moody, and entertaining thrill ride.
December 19, 2012
Chris Weber

Super Reviewer

Any time a ghost story film involves someone who sees dead people the benchmark Sixth Sense always seems to enter the conversation. In Stir of Echoes you have an earnest film that is more psychological than scary, yet kept afloat by a finely tuned script and some well grounded acting.

The film does a very good job of setting the time and place - creating a mood of regular people living regular lives until something extraordinary occurs. The script fleshes out the characters, and not just of the main leads but of some of the supporting characters as well - to the point you think you KNOW these people. Kevin Bacon is in the lead, and he's just fine, but it is in the interplay between the two sisters, Bacon's wife and sis- in law, that are the glue that make this yeast rise. Katheryn Erbe as Bacon's wife and especially Illeana Douglas as sis-in-law bring humanity and reality to their rolls - totally believable as just regular folk.

I'm not going to go too much into the ghost story as I don't want to give anything away; but of course, as I mentioned earlier, there will always be a comparison to Sixth Sense, which is a shame, for while holding some of the same elements, this wasn't meant to be a copycat.

The cinematography works very well throughout the film, especially the more surreal moments. The "under hypnosis" scene is wonderfully thought out and quite a joy to behold.

Really about the only thing holding this film back is the final act where things become just a bit too convenient and conventional, which is unfortunate as the build up and mystery are quite interesting. It's not that the climax is over the top hokum, but rather that it deals with human reactions that play false given the realism (an interesting term considering that this is a ghost story) that has gone on before.

I will mention that the film has a coda, and while not the revelation of Sixth Sense, it is rather haunting in its own right. And finally, as the credits role there's a very cool song by Poe that nicely ties in the entire screenplay.

A not perfect film, but surely a cut above the usual ghost story type genre.
July 12, 2012
paul sandberg

Super Reviewer

I had been wanting to watch Stir of Echoes for quite some time. Reading about on horror websites and praising the film, I knew I had to check out. Unfortunately I never did, until recently. This film blends psychological horror and supernatural horror into a film that definitely chills you. The cast deliver great performances, and the main lead who is Kevin Bacon is terrific in the role he plays. Stir of Echoes is a good psychological horror film that keeps you guessing till the every end. Stir of Echoes is a brilliant supernatural/psychological horror film, and Kevin Bacon delivers a good performance here. The film has some good chilling moments that really terrify you. Stir of Echoes had had the misfortune of being released after The Sixth Sense, and was dubbed a rip-off by the audience. I don't believe that is the case, Stir of Echoes may be the same type of horror film, but the film strays away enough from The Sixth Sense to be different, interesting and horrifying. Stir of Echoes is an underrated film and definitely should be seen by every horror fan. The cast is brilliant, the plot is engrossing and there are plenty of good, chilling moments to appeal to a selective horror audience. Stir of Echoes is a fine Supernatural horror film that definitely doesn't deserve the label "a Sixth Sense rip-off". This film is entertaining enough to keep you on the edge of your seat till the very end. A good, well plotted film.
October 16, 2011
Jeff "The Dude" Lebowski

Super Reviewer

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