“An engrossing nailbiter”
by Nav Qateel
Writer Anna Parker (Kate French), suffers from sleep-paralysis induced visions. When boyfriend Paul Wagner (Steven Brand), suggests that they take a break and spend a few days at his isolated desert home, she readily agrees. Anna plans on getting some writing done, but the visions intensify whilst in the grips of sleep-paralysis. While previewing recordings filmed from security cameras throughout the house, Anna discovers her visions are more horrific than she could ever have imagined. We then dive into a horror story of ghosts, possession, the supernatural, and secrets within secrets, all blended neatly together to create an engrossing nailbiter.
From first-time writer-directed Nils Timm, Echoes is a film that grips you from the opening scene, and holds onto that feeling of menace and foreboding throughout its runtime. That in itself is an achievement, and is also hard earned. Rather than relying on cheap scare tactics, Timm slowly cranks up the horror dial, steadily increasing the tension, which also serves to keep the audience on its toes, while we try to guess who the real bad guy is, if indeed there is one.
We learn that Anna is on a lot of strong medication, and this leads to us questioning her sanity. After Paul is called away to an emergency meeting not long after the couple arrive at the desert home, Anna starts to see more bizarre things, like when her scarf blows away and is suddenly stopped by something invisible in the shape of a person. A clever effect that was first seen in the The Counjering (Watch clip).
The acting by Kate French and Steven Brand is first rate, as both give convincing performances, particularly French, who clearly put a lot of effort into her character, providing Anna with perhaps more depth than the script called for. The score by first-timer Dre Nitze, and cinematography by Robert Toth, both help elevate the material. Till’s sure direction was the star of Echoes, with the writing also worthy of note.
Although Echoes wasn’t a perfect film, it’s hard to find any real fault that would be worth speaking of. Anyone looking for cheap jump scares or gore, will do better to look elsewhere. This is a film built around tension and the unknown, which for my money is far scarier than loud bangs and chainsaws.