Starring: Rob Lowe, Ben Lewis, Jason Mercury, Vik Sahay, Zachary
Bennett, Nicholas Carella

Directed by: Ernie Barbarash

Story: A soldier returns home from the Iraq war only to be haunted by
visions of the dead.


Review:

Stir of Echoes was based on a novel by Richard Matheson. The film came
out in 1999 and is still seen by fans as a horribly underrated movie. A few
years go by and word gets out about a sequel. Another few years go by
and the studio has already gone through some treatments. I even
remember one that was supposed to be about Jake Witzky (the little boy
from the first movie) in his high school years as he still sees the dead. An
interesting premise, but one that never got made. So, we had to wait a
little longer for the studio to come up with an idea they can stick to. Well
it's been eight years and we finally have a sequel. A direct to video sequel
at that, but at least it's here. Was it worth the wait? Or is it like most of
the other TV premiered sequels? You'll find out my answer in a minute. I
still can't understand why the original film is almost completely ignored. I
suppose everyone was still on aw by Shymalan's The Sixth Sense that Stir
of Echoes went past by and nobody really seemed to notice.

In Stir of Echoes 2 a soldier named Ted Cogan returns home from the Iraq
war. Once home he begins to see things. Things that aren't considered
"normal". Ted becomes a receiver, which means that he is able to see
ghosts, and he can't figure out why. Ted also begins to see the ghosts of
his victims during the war. Ted begins going through a number of strange
and almost unnecessary mental breakdowns where he is haunted by
mind-bending hallucinations. As he tries to figure everything out he
uncovers a horrible truth. There's a spirit haunting him, and it's trying to
tell him something. This leads Ted on an adventure to figure out what
happened to the spirit, and it's not only taking a toll on himself, but also
on his wife and son. Ted even visits another receiver named Jake Witzky, a
grown man who has seen similar things as a child. The truth Ted figures
out is not pretty, and he has to make a very difficult and permanent
decision.

I wouldn't have named this "Stir of Echoes 2" because this doesn't appear
to be like a sequel. The Homecoming features a new story with new
characters. The only thing that resembles the first movie is the structure
and heart. That's where the similarities end. The Homecoming feels more
like a spin-off rather than a sequel. In fact it feels more like a television
pilot, which wouldn't be such a bad idea. Rather than just making sequel
after sequel Lionsgate should look into turning this into a television series.
They can even premiere and run it on the Sci-fi channel. That's where The
Homecoming had it's premiere anyway. There's only one character from the
original film that appears in The Homecoming, and that's Jake. The little boy
who saw spirits in the first movie. Sadly, as we see him here his life has
been a living hell. I guess mine would be too if I saw spirits all the time. In
this new movie we follow Ted, a soldier who's returned home from the Iraq
war.

This is a new story, and sadly some of the formula that made the original
film great is lost here. It's the same structure though: We see ghosts,
there's a mystery, and we figure it all out in the end. If you're familiar with
the first movie then you should know how it's going to uncover.
Unfortunately we see the dead way too much here. It gets to the point
where it's not scary or thrilling at all. It's repetitive and a lot of it is
unnecessary. Some scenes do nothing for the story but drag. The
Homecoming feels like a cheap cash in to a popular title. The movie is
plagued with one random spook after another, much like the recent
'Grudge 2' where it just happens way too much. If feels like they tried very
hard to make a spiritual sequel to the original, but it has quite a few flaws.
Rob Lowe is one of my favorite actors, and it just hurts because I know he
can do better than this. Rob was one of the main reasons why I
programmed a reminder on my TV to see it.

His performance here is good, but his character is a little hard to
understand which makes it very difficult for us to feel sympathy for him. At
times he comes off as a prick, especially when it comes to his own son. The
soundtrack is okay but not really memorable. I can still remember the
themes played in the original film, but here it's a blank. It's a shame
because I've watched this recently, and it's been a while since I've seen the
original. The music featured in The Homecoming is average at best. There
are no Rolling Stone covers either. Instead we're treated to a generic rap
song that plays as the theme in the back story. It's a shame because the
"Paint It Black" song was referenced quite a few times in the original film.
Here it's just in the background and serves no real purpose. The back
story is probably the best part of the film, but that's still not saying much.
We're treated to an interesting and fucked up scene where we get to figure
out the mystery behind what happened to the ghost haunting Ted.

The back story or "twist" as you would call it is good, but stretches out
way too much. It starts to get a little irritating considering that the back
story could have been cut down and still carry out the same message. The
twist is just too long. Other than all that I enjoyed the film's plot. We even
get more of an idea as to what the ghosts here are like and why they do
what they do. It elaborates more on their ways. The film is also dark in
nature, both with the look and disturbing-political twist. The clues
presented in the movie are too obvious, but what more could you expect
from something that's already been done before? It's not a terrible film,
but it's not all good either. Needless to say if you're a fan of the original
film then I would check this out anyway (but with caution). You may dig the
structure and the story, but don't expect too much out of it. The
Homecoming is your basic direct to TV sequel with the same tricks, but less
treats.


--------------------------------------------------------------------------
Overall: 5/10
Genres: Horror, Thriller

Rated: R

Country: USA

Year: 2007

Runtime: 89 minutes

Studio: Lionsgate

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Review done by: Nightmare Child
Online since: February 20th, 2006
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