Saturday, July 17, 2010

Blockbuster Trash: Stir of Echoes 2

Another day, another shitty direct-to-DVD movie.  What's on tap for today?  A sequel-that's-not-a-sequel to a 1999 film starring Kevin Bacon?  Crap!  Stir of Echoes is a tale of a man who gets hypnotized, which allows him to see ghosts- something that he can't turn off.  It's based on a Richard Matheson story, so it does have it's strong suits.  Because of the title, I assume that this is a spin-off of that story- wrong!  Does this have hypnotism in it?  No.  Does it have ghosts in it?  Yes.  So, based on this logic, this could be The Sixth Sense 2, The Haunting 2 or The Legend of Hell House 2!  This story is about an Iraq War vet who comes home after a tragic event and is confronted by ghosts.  Yeah, that has so much to do with that Kevin Bacon movie.  In place of Mr. Six Degrees, we've got Rob Lowe, coming right off of leaving The West Wing, getting a really bad series of pilots and returning...only to have the show get canceled.  Things didn't get better for Mr. Lowe after 2007, but its notable to realize when he decided that this was a good project.  This is a rough one, but let's try to drudge through it.  Get out your oddly-monochromatic camera for my review of...

The film begins with Rob leading a blockade in Iraq.  A van drives up and doesn't come to a stop.  Lowe orders the man in the tank to fire a warning shot at the vehicle, but he's slower than drunken molasses!  This leads to the soldiers firing on the vehicle and it setting on fire.  Lowe runs up and tries to save the one girl he can, only to have insurgents fire an RPG at the thing!  This doesn't kill him, but it does set the girl on fire...which eventually kills her.  He wakes up in the hospital and talks to one of his fellow soldiers, only to have the nurse reveal that the man was not actually there.  Great- you can see dead people.  On the plus side, I got this Sixth Sense joke out of the way.  Back home, our hero's reunion with his family is ruined a bit by his post-traumatic stress disorder.  At a dinner with his friends, he gets offended with his teenage son makes a 'towel-head' joke which is actually kind of funny.  The problem is that he blames for himself for what happened.  Considering that you didn't fire on them and the actual fire was started by insurgents, why are you upset again?  I don't blame myself for someone dying on the same day that I drive somewhere!
Things continue to stay bad for our hero as the wife of his dead friend (the one he 'saw' in the hospital) turns out to be a bit suicidal.  He knows this because he goes to see her and witnesses her death...only for it to be a vision.  So post-traumatic stress disorder makes you see the future?  He cools her down and takes the gun, which proves to a minor plot-point later.  He sees ghosts at the VA Clinic, even getting a name of someone to consult from one.  Wow, this would be really interesting if this was the only film about ghosts ever.  As it is, I don't care.  He ignores this and decides that being scared by ghosts would be much more fun.  One awkward moment occurs when he sees the ghost of the girl who died in the fire and hugs her...only for it to turn out to be a different girl.  Apparently the mother of the girl takes this badly, but nothing comes of it.  Thanks for all that nothing, movie.  Speaking of nothing, he gets scared by ghosts in the elevator and confronted by a burn victim.  At home, he comes across his teenage son sporting a black eye and learns that he got into a fight over someone insulting Lowe.  It all relates to an article about the incident from the beginning which proves to be a key point later.  Giving you one piece of evidence that counts for two events- that's lazy writing for you.  Finally, he goes to get help...
Lowe consults the man whose name was given to him by a ghost (just go with it) and finds out that it's a blind guy.  Apparently, his plan to get around seeing ghosts was to just gouge his eyes out.  He explains that if you ignore ghosts or don't do what they want, they can hurt your physical form.  So, ghosts are basically The Hulk?  Shockingly, things don't get better.  The son ends up in a coma after a car accident that kills his two friends and Lowe sees a vision of both the son and wife shot dead in the hospital.  He realizes that he needs to solve the murder of some Arab teenager who was murdered before he got back.  I'm sorry, but why does he need to do that?  Anyhow, he goes to the site of the murder is forced to feel the pain of the victim and learns the truth.  Mind you, we don't see him figure out- he just wakes up and knows it.  As it turns out, the son and friend got drunk, ran across an Arab teen and killed him for having a 'No Blood For Oil' bumper sticker.  Oh and this is shot mono-chromatically- save for the red car- for no reason.  The wife tries to convince Lowe to not reveal the truth, so, naturally, a ghost possesses him and tries to make him kill them.  It leaves his body after he shoots her, the son is sent to jail and Lowe ends up there too.  Hurray?

Not to repeat myself too much, but this movie sucks!  The plot makes no sense, choosing to steep itself in melodrama instead of, you know, writing.  Why does he have to solve the murder of some kid that he never met?  I know that there is the whole family connection and all, but it still seems odd to me.  Speaking of odd, the ghost effects and rules don't exactly make sense.  Ghosts can hurt you if you can't figure out their cryptic, non-statements?  Who decided that crap?!?  The idea of the burned ghosts coming to see him is a big fake-out too, since the deaths in Iraq have zero to do with what is actually happening.  As The Occultist taught us, lying to your audience for no good reason is not a good thing!  I also have to ask why ghosts can possess you, considering that it sort of blurs the whole line between life and death in a freaky way.  I shouldn't have to discuss the metaphysical ramifications of ghost possession in a shitty movie like this!  The acting is alright, although the actress playing the wife kind of overdoes it.  She tries to play 'normal' to the point where it just feels extremely-fake.  As a whole, this movie is tedious, silly and bleak.  What's the point of it even existing again?  Sorry, I got nothing!
Next up, I bring you the anime-prequel to Vin Diesel's ego-piece The Chronicles of Riddick.  Can it redeem that absurd piece of crap?  Stay tuned...

No comments:

Post a Comment