Echoes of Fear is a serviceable, if uninspiring horror that at least tries something different, even if the execution doesn’t quite work.
Synopsis: After inheriting her grandfather’s house, a young woman must confront the mystery of his sudden death and the evil that hides inside.
Alisa (Trista Robinson) inherits her late grandfather’s house after his sudden death. Her plan to carry out cleaning and repairs before she sells it is soon disrupted by strange happenings in the house. Alisa is positioned as a kind character, even suggesting that half her profit from the house sale could be donated to a charity. This idea is quickly shut down by her boyfriend Brandon (Paul Chirico) who otherwise features relatively little in the narrative. Her friend Steph (Hannah Race), into burning sage and other new-age-style superstitions leaps into encouraging Alisa to bless the house to rid any evil and places the responsibility on her instantly to confront the issue. This is one of the issues I had with the film. Alisa is written well as a protagonist, but the other characters all seem to fall into function-filling with little background. This lack of background or consistency to draw on may have impacted some performances as some moments feel somewhat stilted. Marshal Hilton as David, Alisa’s ailing neighbour produces a solid performance.
Some of the choices feel unusual and the film struggles at times to balance the threats it places, alternating between supernatural occurrences alongside the possibility that the crawlspace could be home to someone more immediately dangerous. The former involves a lot of gliding camerawork to indicate a presence which works, but is somewhat repetitive. The latter involves the odd addition of a lengthy foot chase, featuring a moment where the score seems incredibly intrusive and results in a jump scare that doesn’t, to my mind, do anything to move the plot forward. It is that lack of connection in terms of characters and sequences that disrupts the narrative too often.
While I’ve detailed the flaws of the film, that’s not to say there aren’t well-crafted and effective moments. The scenes where clues are delivered in the form of nail varnishes feels like a unique touch. Similarly, the film spends so much time in the house exploring the various nooks and crannies that it is more obvious when something is amiss and that comfort is more easily switched to unease when called for. There is a wonderful transition from day to night that plays out beautifully, showing the kind of technical skill involved.
The narrative is also interesting, unfolding from what seems like a standard supernatural horror into something with far more depth. It is always good to see films try something new, especially with a lower budget and even if not all of it works, it is certainly better than being a copy of existing stories out there.
Echoes of Fear is released on demand on July 20th and the DVD follows on August 3rd.
Rating 3 out of 5 stars