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Guest Movie Review by Lance Curtis — Twitch.com says it is the most “art-house oriented film” to come out of Vertigo Entertainment, the producers behind horror films The Ring, The Grudge, and now The Echo.
The Echo, directed by young filmmaker Yam Laranas, certainly comes as a surprise to even those horror fans who claim to have seen everything. The film manages to be both artistic and terrifying. A rare and strangely powerful combination.
With hardly any special effects, Yam Laranas uses his mastery of lights and shadows to turn the most innocuous everyday objects into the stuff of night terrors. The hallway. The door. The window. The closet. The garbage shoot. Everything looks ominous in the world he’s created out of the simplest camera gestures and shifts in light.
The main character Bobby (played by Jesse Bradford) likewise achieves the most effect with minimalist dialogue and a total absence of typical horror theatrics.
He is an ex-con returning to the apartment of his mother only to find his mother gone and the apartment violently haunted. A simple story simply told.
But absent the usual bells and whistles of a typical horror film, The Echo is deeply, completely frightening, and invokes fears of the kind you take home with you long after you’ve seen the film.
Unlike the countless horror flicks I’ve enjoyed, this story and this ghost, I must say, stayed with me.
For this reason, it deserves its name, The Echo. And it deserves to be seen and heard, not just by few seekers of small cinematic gems lucky enough to find some in Cannes, but by anyone anywhere who loves a great ghost story.
The Echo is many things – both art-house and commercial, both subtle and shocking — but one thing it certainly is — it’s a gem of a ghost story.
Now if only more film distributors in the US were listening…
Yam Laranas (director) / Eric Bernt, Yam Laranas, Shintaro Shimosawa (screenplay)
CAST: Hrant Alianak … Max
Jamie Bloch … Carly
Jesse Bradford … Bobby
Iza Calzado … Gina
Kevin Durand … Walter
Jayne Eastwood … Lucille Jiminez