Case Number 17544: Small Claims Court

THE ECHO

Image Entertainment // 2008 // 96 Minutes // Rated R
Reviewed by Judge David Johnson // October 23rd, 2009

The Charge

Open the door, I know you're in there.

The Case

Recently released parolee Bobby (Jesse Bradford) moves into his deceased mother's apartment and promptly starts getting freaked out, when he starts hearing crazy sounds and voices. Specifically, there's the sound of big-time violence going down in the apartment next door. Apparently he's abutting an abusive husband who beats the crap out of his wife and child on a nightly basis. But when Bobby complains to the landlord about the mayhem, he is shocked to learn that the apartment is -- are you ready for this? -- empty!

And that's not the worst of it. No sooner do the disembodied sounds start up when we get the very special appearance of that dependable, go-to, source-of-all-horror: the creepy little girl. Suddenly, things go from off-putting to lethal, when other tenants start to expire by paranormal means. Bobby will have to use all of his criminal ne'er-do-well smarts to get to the bottom of the haunting and lay the spirits to rest, before he's the next to get ghost-whacked.

If all that sounds like your typical spooky-shocker, it's because The Echo is just that: a psychological terror saga that hangs its hat on the genre conventions you've come to expect from films of this ilk. Effective use of the surround speakers to transmit the aforementioned ghost sounds? You bet. Jump scare followed by jump scare followed by red herring jump scare followed by jump scare? Uh huh. Flash appearances by nine-year-olds smeared in special effects? Of course! A plodding, methodical storyline that builds steadily to the ultimate disclosure of the mystery's resolution? Plod-olicious!

That's not to say these elements aren't handled well. They are. In fact, The Echo's playbook is so well-honed the film should be in contention for one of the finest examples of atmospheric horror released this year. Personally, I'm over the whole jump scare craze, having been plenty menaced by small creepy girls from the multitude of J-horror and American J-horror-lite releases to cross my DVD player threshold.

All in all, if you dig this kind of horror flick, I'm confident you'll have a good time with The Echo. If, like me, you're exhausted by the whole rigmarole, don't expect a re-conversion.

The DVD: an attractive 1.85:1 anamorphic widescreen transfer, enveloping 5.1 surround, and that's it.

The Verdict

This particular kind of horror may no longer float my boat, but I can't argue against the craft. Not Guilty.

Review content copyright © 2009 David Johnson; Site layout and review format copyright © 1998 - 2014 HipClick Designs LLC

Scales of Justice
Judgment: 75

Perp Profile
Studio: Image Entertainment
Video Formats:
* 1.85:1 Anamorphic

Audio Formats:
* Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround (English)

Subtitles:
* English (CC)
* Spanish

Running Time: 96 Minutes
Release Year: 2008
MPAA Rating: Rated R

Distinguishing Marks
* None

Accomplices
* IMDb
http://us.imdb.com/title/tt0897347/combined