Stir of Echoes

Everybody get ready for a new round of Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon! For those of you who don't know who that is, it is a twist on the Six Degrees of Separation concept. Take any actor. Try as hard as you can to think of something that actor has been in that would somehow be connected to Kevin Bacon. If you cannot pick Kevin Bacon, pick another actor you think will get you closer to Mr. Bacon. Each round is a degree of separation, and in theory, it should always take six or less rounds to reach him. For example, let's choose Cuba Gooding Jr. Cuba was in What Dreams May Come with Robin Williams, who was in Mrs. Doubtfire with Pierce Brosnan, who will be in The World Is Not Enough with Denise Richards, who starred with Kevin Bacon in Wild Things. See how easy it is? But enough messing around. Bacon's new movie Stir of Echoes is not really new at all. The original story comes from a 1958 novel by Richard Matheson, adapted and directed by David Koepp.

Bacon is Tom Witkzy, an ordinary guy living in Chicago with his ordinary wife Maggie (Kathryn Erbe from What About Bob? and Oz) and their adorably cute son. One night at a party, Maggie's sister Lisa (Illeana Douglas from To Die For and Action) hypnotizes him, then everything changes. Tom seems like he's going crazy. He is paranoid, says he is hearing and seeing things, will not go to work, and has a great desire to 'DIG.' As Tom slips deeper and deeper into his personal abyss, the strain on his marriage increases. Tom must somehow figure out what is going on, and stop whatever it is to save himself and his marriage. Superficially, Stir of Echoes resembles The Sixth Sense. You have a mystery, a young child who can speak with dead people and a story that is more of a psychological thriller than a horror story. Most of the other plot points are different, and this allows Stir to stand on its own. Unlike the Sense, the marketers at Artisan Entertainment were smart enough not to give away many of the twists and turns in the plot.

There really is nothing new about this movie. Though you aren't told where the movie is going, about midway through the movie, you can guess everything that is going to happen. Hey, the novel is almost 40 years old. However, Koepp does manage to keep the suspense at a decent level, so interest is never lost. Bacon is a dependable actor, always doing a good job in his movies, and he does well again here. Bacon makes all of Witzky's strange behavior seem normal, and Erbe is does well as the mystified wife trying to keep her marriage together. Douglas is also performing at her norm, serving up a wise crack here and there. The special effects aren't that great, but again, they are good enough to keep you interested. The ending is everything you would expect it to be, and not all that bad.

Haro Rates It: Not Bad
1 hour, 39 minutes, Rated R for violence, sexuality, and language.

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