September 12, 1999 -- It is nowhere near Halloween yet and there seems to be plenty of ghost stories on the big screen. The mega-hit "The Sixth Sense" has scared off the competition until now, and here comes another one.
Kevin Bacon ("Wild Things") stars as Tom Witzky in "Stir of Echoes," a film which bears some resemblance to "The Sixth Sense." Both movies have to do with a little boy who can see ghosts, only in the case of "Stir of Echoes," the little boy Jake Witzky (Zachary David Cope) is not a central character.
Tom does not realize his son, Jake, is talking to ghosts until he starts seeing them himself. After undergoing hypnosis by his wife's sister (Illeana Douglas of "Message in a Bottle") Lisa, he begins to see beyond the realm of the five senses. Tom's wife, (Kathryn Erbe "What About Bob") Maggie, is just about at wit's end trying to cope with all of this.
Tom starts behaving very strangely. He sees the future and fights it. He starts searching for dead bodies. He uncovers deep, dark secrets about his neighborhood. Neighborhood is one of those things you hear discussed in the movies, but it is seldom explored in depth. Here, it is. We get a real flavor for what it is like to live in such a close-knit little community.
Bacon (who is reportedly connected to everybody) is very good at portraying a haunted man. Zachary David Cope also does a good job as a boy with enigmatic visions of ghosts and the future. It isn't a bad movie, but it just doesn't hang together very well, especially when you compare it to "The Sixth Sense." It seems confused and poorly organized, with a lot of dead ends. This movie rates a C.
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