Stir of Echoes

1999

Stir of Echoes

Critics Consensus

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

67%

TOMATOMETER

Total Count: 104

70%

Audience Score

User Ratings: 65,019
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Stir of Echoes Photos

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 Lisa or Tom expected; Tom now senses an air of terrible dread throughout his house and is convinced that evil lurks just around the corner. He also sees the spirit of a girl from the neighborhood who disappeared months ago -- and Jake sees the spirit as well. Stir of Echoes was based on a novel by Richard Matheson, whose work inspired such disparate films as Somewhere in Time and The Incredible Shrinking Man; it was written and directed by David Koepp, who wrote the screenplays for Jurassic Park and Mission: Impossible. ~ Mark Deming, Rovi

Cast

Kevin Bacon
as Tom Witzky
Kathryn Erbe
as Maggie Witzky
Liza Weil
as Debbie Kozac
Kevin Dunn
as Frank McCarthy
Conor O'Farrell
as Harry Damon
Zachary David Cope
as Jake Witzky
Lisa Lewis
as Debbie's Mother
Eddie B. Smith
as Neil the Cop
Eddie Bo Smith Jr.
as Neil The Cop
Louie Meza
as Gothic Street Punk
Lusia Strus
as Mrs. McCarthy
Richard Cotovsky
as Neighborhood Man
George Ivey
as Security Guard
Mike Bacarella
as Train Station Cop No. 1
Christian Stolte
as Train Station Cop No. 2
Hyowon K. Yoo
as Korean Woman
Jim Andelin
as Elderly Man
Karen Vaccaro
as Upset Woman
Rosario Varela
as Latin Woman
Duane Sharp
as Polish Priest
View All

News & Interviews for Stir of Echoes

Critic Reviews for Stir of Echoes

All Critics (104) | Top Critics (29) | Fresh (70) | Rotten (34)

  • As the plot kicks in, the hysteria mounts and the explanations start coming, the tension starts to dissipate. Like Bacon's strenuous attempt to sound working class, the movie tries too hard.

    Mar 5, 2018 | Full Review…

    David Ansen

    Newsweek
    Top Critic
  • [A] serious, atmospheric, character-driven supernatural drama.

    Dec 10, 2007 | Full Review…
  • 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.

    Jun 24, 2006 | Full Review…
    Time Out
    Top Critic
  • 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.

    Apr 17, 2001 | Rating: 4/5 | Full Review…
  • In a taut, grippingly intense performance, Bacon captures the frenetic torment of a man driven to extremes by forces he can't begin to fathom.

    Jan 1, 2000 | Rating: 3.5/5
  • The kind of film that may give you pause the next time you walk into a dark room by yourself.

    Jan 1, 2000 | Rating: 3/4 | Full Review…

Audience Reviews for Stir of Echoes

  • Mar 25, 2013
    this film unfortunately suffered a quick death at the box office thanks in part to the sixth sense. its a shame because this is actually a well made and impressive film. its shares some of the same story points but thats where the similarities end. kevin bacon leads the film who is just an ordinary guy who is trying to keep he's wife and child happy. Kathryn Erbe is great in support playing the wife caught in the middle of both her son & husband who are both battling visions and contact from the dead. Bacon alone establishes a character flawed and passionate to keep pushing to resolve the visions if it means isolating himself from both he's family and work. He keeps this film from being anything less then ordinary. David Koepp has written some of the best films but this adaption of Richard Matheson's works is a hidden gem. He cast Bacon who is brilliant and provoking in the lead and gives the film a strong atmospheric style. The cinema hypnotic scene is a marvel to watch and proof the director has an eye for more then just typing words. the story just oozes interest and once the door is open we are on a collison course with an ending. The strengths of the film are in its strong characters and support characters. You actually understand kevin bacons character and once that first vision occurs you understand he's shock and the limits he will go to understand what has happened to this girl. I rarely sing praise but I enjoyed this film and often show people the film because the sixth sense quite honestly was the better film of the two. They are both different and its Kevin Bacon who keeps this from being a typical twist ridden borefest. I recommend this film highly and will continue to increase its viewership
    Brendan N Super Reviewer
  • Dec 19, 2012
    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.
    Chris W Super Reviewer
  • Nov 17, 2012
    The supernatural thriller Stir of Echoes is an intense and well-crafted film full of suspense. The story follows Tom Witzky who, after having been hypnotized, becomes obsessed when he glimpses a ghost that's staking him. Kevin Bacon, Kathryn Erbe, and Jennifer Morrison lead the cast and give strong performances. Bacon is especially good in this role, and gives a captivating portrayal of a decent into madness. Additionally, the film does an excellent job at building intrigue and crafting disturbing imagery. Haunting and chilling, Stir of Echoes is an impressive film with a compelling mystery.
    Dann M Super Reviewer
  • Jul 12, 2012
    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.
    paul s Super Reviewer

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