'Echoes' [Blu ray]
(Kate French, Steven Brand, Steve Hanks, et al / Blu ray / R / (2014) 2015 / Anchor Bay Entertainment)
Overview: Struggling with horrifying, sleep-paralysis induced visions, a young writer retreats with her boyfriend to an isolated desert house. As the visions intensify, she finds herself on the verge of losing her mind ... or uncovering a life-threatening secret.
Blu ray Verdict: Well, lots to discuss here, for sure. Caught between a really nice, low budget Hollywoodesque movie, and a no budget bargain bin movie, 'Echoes' most certainly lives up to its very own tagline, "The Truth Is A Nightmare." Anna Parker (French) is having sleep paralysis nightmares, takes en masse of drugs to combat it, but fails most of the time. Either that or she stays awake through the entire night, too terrified to sleep. These unknown terrors in the night, which have been experienced by people across all cultures, have now given her writers block, as her publisher, Paul Wagner (Brand) is all too cocksure to point out.
Aside from the fact that they are also sleeping together, Wagner suggests they go out to Joshua Tree, where he has a getaway home there. She can relax, eat well, and they can be together. Then, perhaps, she can finally get the third reworking of her film script accomplished. Once there all seems well enough, until Wagner is called back to his office the next day and leaves Anna there to enjoy the time alone until he can come back for her in a few days time.
But the nightmares are ten fold now, the woman she keeps seeing getting more and more lifelike. Only one other man knows the secret of the Glass House that she now resides in, and he (Jeremy, played in methodical manner by Steve Hanks) is bound not to last long. The woman in her nightmares seems to be directing her, using her body, her mind to conduct some unfinished business; but 'Echoes' is not that kind of "horror" movie. In fact, Anchor Bay may well try and give you the whole 'Grudge' horror vibe to its marketing for this movie, but that photo on the back of the Blu ray/DVD doesn't even exist in the film!
Filmed on location at Joshua Tree, a census-designated place on State Route 62 in San Bernardino County, California, 'Echoes' is a slow burner, a suspenseful enough story, but nothing gets you involved until after the hour mark. The set up is long, drawn out. The actual ending, well, let's just say I was hoping for a lot better. But, that all said, the movie does get a lot of stuff right for the genre and director Nils Timm has definitely nailed the whole cinematic Joshua Tree dusty landscape as a film backdrop thing!
In closing, 'Echoes' is a very decent movie, slightly overcooked, but come that last half an hour and you are definitely invested in how it all plays out. Again, it all plays out a little rushed for my liking come the final ten minutes, no real answers are given to more than one question, the actual final closing scene a cop out, but the film is worthy of your time. In the opening scene, Anna is wearing a tshirt that bears the slogan No One Is Here ... which sums up perfectly those final, closing movie moments. This is a Widescreen Presentation (2.40:1) enhanced for 16x9 TVs.
Review by: Russell A. Trunk