Ted Cogan (Rob Lowe) is a U.S. soldier fighting in Iraq when
he is injured in an explosion during an attack that left an
innocent Iraq family dead, and him comatose with a head wound.
Upon awakening, Ted returns to his home in Chicago and after
he has encounters of increasingly frightening visions of dead
people, including a burn victim, Ted begins to realize that
his injury has unlocked some gift of clairvoyance and he is
targeted by ghosts seeking his help. As Ted tries to unlock
the mystery, his worried and skeptical wife Molly, and teenage
son Max, hinder his quest for the truth in the matter, which
lies closer than Ted can ever imagine.
is a ‘stir or echoes’? Well, judging from this
movie, and its predecessor, it’s when you start seeing
dead people. It’s when you start hearing voices from
those dead people. And it’s when you realize that it
ain’t totally random, that there is somehow a connection
between you and that dead person who’s talking to you,
and yes it’s an intimate connection.
on- doesn’t that happen in almost all horror movies
when the living start to see, hear or talk to the dead? No
matter, the filmmakers have decided that the ‘stir or
echoes’ concept is so unique that they had to name this
part two after the David Koepp thriller starring Kevin Bacon
that was released some ten years ago.
than that however, this sequel bears no relation to the earlier,
far superior movie. Writer/ director Ernie Barbarash sets
his story around a National Guard soldier Ted Cogan (Rob Lowe)
who returns home from the war and is haunted by visions of
the dead. Could it be due to the group of unarmed Iraqi civilians
his men had accidentally opened fire on and killed, thinking
that they were terrorists?
any perceptive horror fan will tell you that it’s just
a red herring to distract you from what’s really going
on. The bright spot in this sequel is how writer/director
Barbarash has anchored his movie firmly in post-911 America,
where the families of soldiers sent abroad to fight the war
have to await anxiously for news of their loved ones, who
may be killed anytime by the extremists in Afghanistan or
worse than living in this constant fear is how it changes
the psyche of these family members, and how America’s
war on terror can so easily morph into the ugly beast of racism
and hate crimes on home ground. Yes, such are the issues that
‘Stir of Echoes 2’ raises, which is, I must say,
pleasantly surprising considering how shallow most horror
flicks these days really are.
if you’re just in it for the scares, there’s plenty
of those to be had here as well. Unfortunately, director Barbarash
is also fond of the cheapest kind of trick in the horror book-
sudden jump cuts with loud ‘boo’ noises to make
you jump in your seat. Used judiciously, they can help build
atmosphere; used ad nauseum as in this movie, it is simply
overkill. Nevertheless, there are still enough elements here
to make you feel spooked.
this sequel is The West Wing’s Rob Lowe who tries his
best to emote as a war veteran haunted not just by his memories
of the war, but also the dead people he’s seeing. Still
he doesn’t hold a candle to Kevin Bacon in part one.
Bacon possesses a naturally gaunt, hollowed out look that
will immediately convince you of his travails. That’s
something Lowe doesn’t have despite his best efforts.
As a direct
to DVD release, Stir of Echoes 2 isn’t at all bad. Certainly,
neither is it that outstanding. Some of its ideas may not
be original, but it still is surprisingly scary. Considering
some of the dreck horror flicks that are out there in the
cinemas, there’s no harm in checking this out if you
need a good jolt.
SPECIAL FEATURES :
This Code 3 DVD contains no extra features.
decent enough and the audio’s only presented in Dolby
2.0 so don’t expect a surround-sound scare.
by Gabriel Chong