Scene from Stir of Echoes with Kevin Bacon.
Prayer Focus
Movie Review

Stir of Echoes

MPAA Rating: R for violence, sexuality and language

Reviewed by: Carole Stewart McDonnell

Very Offensive
Moviemaking Quality:

Primary Audience:
Horror Mystery Thriller
1 hr. 39 min.
Year of Release:

Starring: Kevin Bacon, Zachary David Cope, Kathryn Erbe, Illeana Douglas, Kevin Dunn, Conor O'Farrell, Lusia Strus, Stephen Eugene Walker, Mary Kay Cook, Larry Neumann Jr., Jennifer Morrison, Richard Cotovsky, Steve Rifkin, Chalon Williams, Liza Weil, George Ivey, Lisa Lewis, Mike Bacarella, Christian Stolte, Eddie Bo Smith Jr., Hyowon K. Yoo, James Andelin, Karen Vaccaro, Antonio Polk, Rosario Varela, Duane Sharp | Directed by David Koepp | Produced by Artisan Entertainment, Judy Hofflund, Gavin Polone, Michele Weisler | Written by David Koepp | Distributed by Artisan Entertainment

“Stir of Echoes” echoes much of today’s spiritualism. It also tackles the idea of “good neighborhoods” and our culture’s tendency to aspire to specialness.

Kevin Bacon in “Stir of Echoes”Minutes after the opening credits, Tom (another well-played middle-class Kevin Bacon character) learns his wife Maggie is pregnant with their second child. This is not exactly welcome news. Money is tight and Tom’s musical aspirations have all but faded. He tells his wife he had not known his life would be so “ordinary.” His ordinariness is about to change. His flaky new-ager sister-in-law challenges him to a hypnosis session. The next thing the audience knows is Tom has become a “receiver”. Granted, he’s not as talented as his more “sensitive” son, but he’s game. After all, it’s his chance to be special. And the ghost who is haunting his mind (and his family) wants him to do something. And that’s what he’s going to do.

This is the kind of movie that almost demands that Christians have some kind of spiritual answer. I’ve heard many kinds of explanations about ghosts and haunted houses. These explanations range. Ghosts are called psychological hallucinations, demonic entities, lost souls who need to be prayed for or who need to have the gospel preached to them, folks with important messages from the other side. Beliefs about the afterlife are so intertwined with people’s spiritual, emotional and denominational make-up—and that Christian’s personal history—that in situations where major Christian beliefs aren’t affected or dismissed, many Christians tend to reserve judgment and avoid spiritual catfights. However, sometimes Christians are forced to make a judgment. In this case, I find it hard-put to believe that victims of violent deaths end up becoming ghosts. Why would the good shepherd leave someone wandering in outer darkness simply because of said person’s violent death?

Like the much better, creepier, “Sixth Sense”, this film will scare young children. Like that film also, supernatural events are treated as something that one is born with and that one must “learn how to use.” Many people speak of family gifts with phrases like “we have ESP in our family” etc. But Christians know that not all spiritual gifts are from God. And the deception here is that films that glorify psychic ability sometimes will plant the desire in people’s mind to develop their “psychic skills” so they can be special and “do good for mankind and lost souls.”

There is also something else that bothers me. At one point in the film, it is suggested that the character’s get a hunky priest to help them out of their fix. Need I say that the idea is dismissed as quickly as it is given? The film-makers obviously think that traditional religion knows nothing of the supernatural. Instead, the helpful advice comes from the ghost herself, from folks who are special enough to be gifted with these gifts, and from a child. This is not the Christian’s idea of spiritual warfare. It is, however, Hollywood’s idea.

Viewer Comments
Comments below:


A waste of time and money. I love and admire Kevin Bacon as an actor and while his performance is quite good, the movie as a whole did absolutely nothing for me. I could have done without hearing God’s name in vain as much as I did, and the entire plot wasn’t very frightening as I was hoping it would be. If you haven’t seen this movie yet, I recommend that you save your money and see something a little more worthwhile and entertaining. This just isn’t it.
—Maggi, age 23
I was extremely disgusted by this movie. As a reader I was personally offended. I happened to read the book before seeing the movie and I was terribly disgusted by the complete change in the script. It was simply made into some insipid Hollywood attempt at a scary movie and I was completely angry to find very little of the original storyline remaining. At best it was a poor attempt to copy the storyline of “The Sixth Sense” and I really did not appreciate it. Sometimes Hollywood needs to let a good book become a good movie and not a good book a piece of trash movie. My Ratings: [2/3]
—Angelic Jones, age 20
Comments from young people
This movie was a dark and disturbing one, but with a great story and great performances. Kevin Bacon delivers his best performance here. Profanity is extreme here due to about 20 F-words, and sex is minor due to one sexual encounter and a brief, but not graphic, rape scene. …it was a very entertaining movie, although I would not recommend it to everyone. It would have been better if they had left out some sex scenes and had toned down on the language. My Ratings: [2½/5]
—Adam Renkovish, age 17
Despite its dark nature, this movie was very well done. The plot, I feel, was very good all the way up until the end. I was not very fond of the sexuality in this movie nor was I fond of the vulgar language. However, I enjoyed this movie very much. Although it was not up to the standards of the “Sixth Sense” or “Blair Witch” scares, I did find this movie to be fun, exciting, and very intriguing. My Ratings: [2/4½]
—Ben Harris, age 16
I personally liked this movie. I think Kevin Bacon did a great job acting. The use of vulgar language was a little much for me and so was the nudity (one scene in the whole movie) but otherwise I think that it had a well thought out plot and a good story line.
—Brandon Morgan, age 16
Movie Critics
[a ghost story] …comes close to giving champs “The Blair Witch Project” and “The Sixth Sense a good run for their money. The last 20 minutes is full of the kind of maddening loopholes…
—Rob Blackwelder, Spliced
The scary stuff is real enough to be believable and truly frightening.
—John Anderson, Los Angeles Times
Profanity is extreme with more than 20 “f” words being used, along with other profanities and colorful phrases. Violence is also extreme with several people being killed or committing suicide (with bloody results), and a girl is raped.