Blu-ray review: “Stir of Echoes” (1995)

“Stir of Echoes” (1995)


Running Time: 100 minutes

Written and directed by: David Koepp

Featuring: Kevin Bacon, Kathryn Erbe, Illeana Douglas and Kevin Dunn

Lisa: “It doesn’t surprise me that there’s another woman. Of course, the fact that she’s dead gives one pause.”

Critical Commentary

“Stir of Echoes” is a supernatural thriller film released in 1999, directed by David Koepp, and based on the novel of the same name by Richard Matheson. The movie stars Kevin Bacon as Tom Witzky, a blue-collar worker who becomes obsessed with the idea of supernatural abilities after undergoing hypnosis at a party. The film received generally positive reviews from critics and audiences alike.

The plot of “Stir of Echoes” centres around Tom Witzky, who begins to experience strange and frightening visions after being hypnotized by his sister-in-law, Lisa (Illeana Douglas). As his visions become more intense and disturbing, Tom becomes increasingly obsessed with uncovering the truth behind the supernatural forces at work in his life.

Kevin Bacon delivers a strong performance as Tom Witzky, portraying the character’s transformation from sceptical sceptic to believer with conviction and authenticity. The supporting cast, including Illeana Douglas and Kathryn Erbe as Tom’s wife, also give solid performances.

The film’s pacing is well done, with the tension building gradually and effectively as the plot unfolds. The visuals and special effects are impressive, adding to the overall creepy and unsettling atmosphere of the movie. The film also explores interesting themes, such as the dangers of unchecked curiosity and the potentially devastating consequences of meddling with forces beyond our control. “Stir of Echoes” is a well-crafted and engaging supernatural thriller that delivers on both scares and substance. It may not be as well-known as some other movies in the genre, but it’s definitely worth a watch for fans of horror and suspense.

One of the film’s strongest elements is its exploration of the power of suggestion and the effect that hypnosis can have on the human mind. This theme is woven throughout the film, and it raises questions about the nature of reality and the extent to which our thoughts and beliefs can shape our experiences.

Another notable aspect of “Stir of Echoes” is its effective use of setting and atmosphere. The film takes place in a working-class neighborhood in Chicago, and the gritty, urban landscape provides a fitting backdrop for the story’s supernatural elements. The film also makes great use of sound design and music, with a haunting score that heightens the tension and enhances the eerie mood.

One potential weakness of the film is its reliance on some familiar horror tropes, such as jump scares and creepy imagery. While these elements are effective at creating scares, they may feel a bit formulaic to some viewers. Additionally, the film’s plot twists and turns may feel somewhat predictable to seasoned horror fans. “Stir of Echoes” is a solid supernatural thriller that manages to stand out from the crowd thanks to its strong performances, effective atmosphere, and thought-provoking themes. While it may not be a groundbreaking entry in the genre, it’s definitely worth a watch for anyone looking for a well-crafted and engaging horror film.

One of the film’s most memorable scenes is when Tom is alone in his basement, and a ghostly presence begins to physically move and shake him. This scene is a great example of the film’s effective use of practical effects and suspense-building techniques. The scene is tense and terrifying, and it is a standout moment in the film.

The relationship between Tom and his wife Maggie (Kathryn Erbe) is also a key element of the film. The couple’s dynamic is complex and nuanced, and their struggles to come to terms with Tom’s obsession and the supernatural forces at work in their lives are well-handled. The performances by Bacon and Erbe are believable and grounded, which helps to ground the film’s more fantastical elements.

“Stir of Echoes” is a solid horror film that is well worth a watch for fans of the genre. While it may not be groundbreaking or revolutionary, it is a well-crafted and engaging movie that delivers on scares, suspense, and substance. With strong performances, effective atmosphere, and a thought-provoking exploration of the power of suggestion and the human mind, “Stir of Echoes” is a solid addition to any horror fan’s watchlist.

Technical Commentary


Presented in an aspect ratio of 1.73:1, encoded with MPEG-4 AVC and granted a 1080p transfer, Stir of Echoes arrives on Blu-ray courtesy of Via Vision Entertainment. Even though the master that was used to source the release isn’t new, the overall appearance of the film is quite nice. Indeed, it is very healthy and clean, free of any compromising digital corrections as well. It is graded very nicely too, so the existing range of primaries and supporting nuances is quite strong.


There are two standard audio tracks on this Blu-ray release: English: DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 and English: LPCM 2.0. Optional English SDH subtitles are provided for the main feature. Viewing the film with the DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 track, it was a very solid track with good ranges of nuanced dynamics. 

Special Features

– Audio Commentary with writer/director David Koepp

– Flipping the Switch: Directing Stir of Echoes – Interview with director David Koepp (2021) (17 min) 

– Maggie’s Memories: Inside Stir of Echoes – Interview with actress Kathryn Erbe (2021) (11 min) 

– Opening the Door: Designing Stir of Echoes – Interview with production designer Nelson Coates (2021) (16 min) 

– Sights of Spirits: Channeling the Paranormal (11 min)

– Behind the Echoes (21 min)

– The Mind’s Eye: Beneath the Trance (10 min)

– Special Effects (4 min)

– Production Design (4 min) 

– Interviews with Cast and Crew: David Koeppe, Kevin Bacon, Illeana Douglass,  Kathryn Erbe, Gavin Palin, Michele Weisler(8 min) 

– Behind the Scenes (5 min) 

– Scene Comparisons (12 min) 

– Screen Tests (7 min) 

– Deleted scenes (5 min) 

– Theatrical Trailer (2 min)

– TV Spots (2 min) 

– Original Promo (5 min) 

– Original Short Promo (2 min) 

– Breathe – music video (4 min) 

– Photo Gallery (20 min) 


One thought on “Blu-ray review: “Stir of Echoes” (1995)

  1. This is a well-written and informative analysis of “Stir of Echoes”, highlighting its strong performances, effective atmosphere, and thought-provoking themes. The technical commentary section is also helpful for those interested in the Blu-ray release.

    Liked by 1 person

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