Sunday, October 17, 2010
Paroled ex-con Bobby moves into his deceased mother’s decrepit apartment. It’s not long before he begins hearing strange things on the other side of the wall including the sound of someone scraping something, a child’s laughter, and someone or something running quickly. At times there is loud knocking at his door but no one is there when he opens it or when he looks through the peephole. Worse, he starts seeing things such as a battered Asian woman and her young xylophone-playing daughter. The mother-daughter duo seems to want his help yet they always disappear before he is able to intervene. After concluding that his next-door neighbor is an abusive cop who is pretty consistently beating his wife and daughter, he phones the police to investigate. The police oblige and venture into the apartment only to find it completely empty. After warning him about wasting their time the police leave and the creepy sounds/images resume. Upon finding psychotropic medication in his mother’s medicine cabinet Bobby begins to wonder whether she died from neglect (he was her only family and was in prison at the time) or was she tortured by the same auditory and visual hallucinations?
It wasn’t until I started to write this review when I realized that The Echo is a remake of a Filipino film, “Sigaw”. I wish I had known this because that’s the version I would have watched. The Echo follows in the tradition of The Grudge and The Ring, and heavily borrows from those and other superior J-horror films. Perhaps watching so many of those films over the past few years is the reason why The Echo did nothing for me. JSP and I recently had a conversation about the state of horror and we both expressed our fear that we are once again hitting a slump such as we had in the 1990s. There are no new ideas in The Echo and even the things that normally make me jump failed to provoke any autonomic arousal out of this horror fan. You also can’t help but feel that this film could have 45 minutes chopped from it and the end result would be the same. There are too many redundant scenes of Bobby hearing strange noises and looking into his peephole only to find nothing there. The character of Bobby is terribly miscast. Not for a moment do you believe that this young guy did hard time. It’s like the heart-of-gold prostitute that Julia Roberts played in Pretty Woman, yeah right. Ultimately the payoff is not worth your time. You’ve seen this all before.