At first glance, Echoes of Fear seems like a pretty straightforward ghost story – but I am happy to report that it is so much more! Even a hardened gore lover like me got a jump scare or two that really caught my brain off guard! That rarely happens anymore! Brought to the screen by husband and wife team Brian and Laurence Avenet-Bradley, the film has done very well in the film festival circuit, picking up several coveted awards. The layered story has many twists and turns, taking the audience on a roller-coaster ride of tension and supernatural mystery.
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) is a college student, who inherits her grandfather’s house. Her grandfather apparently died from a heart attack, so there are no questions from the police, but as soon as Alisa starts going through his things, weird stuff starts happening in the house. Lights blink, objects move around and the activity gets stronger the longer she is in the house. Are there supernatural forces at work in the house? And if so, what do they want? What really happened to her grandfather? What evil lurks in the house?
With her almost completely absent boyfriend Brandon, (Paul Chirico) all too willing to let her do all the work so they can sell the place and make money, it was cool when her friend Steph (Hannah Race) offers to stay at the house with her to help pack and hopefully solve the mystery. Things, unfortunately, fall apart quickly; plumbing problems turn out to be large amounts of hair and the plumber runs for the hills. She senses right from the start that she is not alone. At first, she decides it’s all in her head, especially when she finds evidence that there is a squatter living somewhere inside the house with her. That was enough for me to be creeped out, but that was just one of the many red herrings that make you think it’s a simple story. I liked that. I love a good mystery and hate figuring out the story a few minutes into a film, which happens way too often these days.
Even the neighbors are creepy. First off, the creepy homeless guy, who must be the one sneaking into her house, gives her cryptic messages. Her grandfather’s house is on a hill and his next-door neighbor, an old man who has to cart around a tank of oxygen, is her closest help in case of emergency. He doesn’t seem very capable, but David, played fantastically by veteran actor Marshall Hilton, is much more than meets the eye and it’s crazy when his secrets are revealed.
Always feeling like they are being watched, things get so bad that one evening Alisa actually leaves to go to a motel for the night. But when she finds out the visions/spirits followed her, and that Brandon doesn’t really seem to care about her enough to come stay with her when she feels threatened, she returns to the house. Once back, Alisa becomes obsessed with solving the mystery and trying to find out what the spirits in the house are trying to tell her. At this point fixing up the house is forgotten, while she rips out walls to get to the truth.
I know it was shot with a modest budget, but it has the look of a film with a lot more money to spend. There were many reasons the film worked so well. The practical SFX makeup was spectacular! I do SFX makeup myself, and the work on this film impressed me a lot!
The camera work was chilling! There were times when she went in the basement, that I was completely claustrophobic, feeling what Alisa would be feeling. Crawlspaces are one of my biggest fears and this film really went there!
Great cinematography, and a score that helped build the suspense instead of just letting us know a jump scare was coming helped too. And these were great jump scares. Like I said earlier, they got me and usually, I scoff at them! This is what horror is all about!
My only complaint was a tiny actor that I could have done without. The pet mouse. Alisa has an adorable little mouse that I spent way too much time worrying about. I would have been upset if the mouse died! It was just distracting to me and didn’t further the story at all.
Echoes of Fear was a cool and creepy film that I highly recommend. Terrific acting from standouts Trista Robinson and Marshall Hilton and the fact that I did not see the end coming, were the best parts. I also liked seeing a girl, who even though she seemed tiny and fragile was not. I enjoyed seeing Alisa stand up to all the things thrown at her, with a huge strength of character. The other awesome thing was the fact that the ghosts were given a voice and power too. There is a very satisfying feeling at the finale when we find out the truth of why the house is haunted and why they are reaching out to Alisa.
Echoes of Fear is a wonderful, dark and moody supernatural thriller. Expect to jump and be surprised quite a few times. To find out where to see it or download it you can go to their Facebook page or to the official website
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