Monday, November 23, 2015

Echoes Movie Review – Sleep Paralysis is a Bitch

Runtime: 93 minutes
Release Date: July 17, 2015
Rating: ?
Director: Nils Timm

Anna is a young woman and a writer who deals with serious bouts of sleep paralysis. The nightmares are so vivid and realistic that she has a hard time telling the difference between what happens in her dreams and what happens in real life. Her boyfriend, Paul, convinces her that she needs some time away from it all and takes her to a gorgeous home in the dessert.

After experiencing a few peaceful nights there, she decides to stay when he goes back to the city. Anna realizes that this was a mistake after her nightmares come back. After meeting Jeremy, a guy who lives in a trailer on the property, she begins feeling uncomfortable in her new home. To make matters worse, she begins having visions of a woman named Vera and sees the woman in her dreams.

She takes a trip into town and learns that Vera was the original architect of the house. She later became blind and went for a walk away from the house, only to completely disappear without a trace. One morning, she wakes to find strange writing all over the windows of the house on the outside, including a specific date, which she discovers was the date Vera went missing. Anna must find out what connection she has to the house, why Vera keeps coming to her, and what is real and what is part of her dreams.

When we finished watching Echoes, my boyfriend looked at me and said, “that was better than a lot of the stuff you make me watch,” which is high praise from him! Echoes is actually one of the better films that I watched over the last few months. While it had a twist towards the end that most people did or should see coming, the rest of the film makes up for it.

Kate French does a really good job as Anna. Given that I've never seen her in anything before, I thought she added something special to the role and to the film. Anna walks the line between being simple and complex. You never know what she's thinking or what she might do. She does a great job of showing the fear Anna has after another night of nightmares and the worry she has as she slowly wonders if she's losing her mind.

Steven Brand was also pretty good as her boyfriend Paul. Though Paul is initially just a throwaway character, he later becomes a bigger part of the story. While you can figure out the connection he had to Vera, I still liked him in the movie.

The only fault I had with Echoes was the ending, which throws away the whole sleep paralysis story in favor of a classic ghost tale. I can overlook that though because the rest of the movie was so damn good. Most of the movie takes place in a gorgeous mid-century modern style home with large windows on every wall. You never know what you might see happening outside those windows or even what you might see on the windows when Anna wakes up in the morning.

Echoes was a dark movie with an average ending and enough chills to make me call it one of the best I've seen lately.

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