DVD & Video File (Starburst Reviews) DVD File and VideoFile by Ian Atkins
From Starburst's monthly Reviews section
selected from Starburst #270

Selected this month:
Stir of Echoes on VHS, plus Supernova on DVD

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Stir of Echoes
1 January • Rental • Cert 18 •
Fox Pathé Home Entertainment

Stir of Echoes on VHS - order from BlackStar today!

We See Films About Dead People... All The Time

Order it from Black Star today!

It’s no surprise that Stir of Echoes rather slipped by upon its release, lost in the turbulence The Sixth Sense left behind, while Hollow Man has hardly done star Kevin Bacon any favours in making him higher profile this year. And certainly there are comparative elements to the Bruce Willis spine-chiller, including the kid who sees ghosties, a significant usage of the colour red, and a whodunnit plot at its heart which will bring an end to the haunting. But it’s unfair to just point to The Sixth Sense as an influence, as there’s also the obsessive dad from Close Encounters in there somewhere, and even a dash of Field of Dreams’ ‘if you build it they will come’ to the hero digging up his garden.

Bacon plays Tom, a lineman for the county (okay, so add Glenn Campbell influences in there too) who no sooner after saying that hypnotism is bunk, gets entranced by his sister-in-law and turned into a ghost-receptive nutter who is driven to solve a mystery about the disappearance of a local girl. Nearly the entire film rests on Bacon’s performance, and he’s typically brilliant: tense, wound-up and scary but with a human side; this is one of his best performances, and more accessible than most as Tom is at heart a good man.

As with Sixth Sense, this tells a Horror story without many effects, going more for camera angles and fast-edited visions than tons of prosthetics, which results in things as simple as removing a tooth becoming utterly horrific. A tight script means that it rattles through at a frantic pace, and it’s a well-told story, which impresses even without a pull-the-rug twist. Yes, comparisons will be made to Sixth Sense, and in places they’re hard to defend, but that doesn’t make Stir of Echoes any less excellent a ghost story.

Starburst rating: 7

Supernova
DVD R2 • Cert 18 • MGM Home Entertainment
Screen Format: 2.35:1 • Out 26 December

Supernova on DVD - order from BlackStar today!

In Space, No One Can Hear You Groan

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Here’s a transcript of the first Supernova production meeting: “Hey guys, whatcha got for me to make as a movie? You know how much I liked Event Horizon, all that spooky in-the-ship stuff?” “Really, oh I liked the 2001 discovering-a-mystery-alien-artefact stuff.” “Oh, what about the psychopath-on-the-loose stuff? That’s always good. Should be, it’s been done thousands of times.” “Yeah, well, I like The Fly-style transporter accidents, ya know, fusing people and screen doors?” “All well and good, but what about a nice mining colony? Don’t think we’ve visited one of those for a week or two.” “I’m feeling a bit Star Trek about this: how’s about one of those Genesis bomb things?” “Naw, you need to think Alien-style battles at the end, getting to the escape pod against a monstrous baddie.” “Tell ya what guys, we’ll make all of them! In one movie!”

And it’ll be utter rubbish.

Well, that’s not entirely fair, but there’s not an element of this you haven’t seen before (must have been nice for actor James Spader to find that the Dimension Jump effect is pretty much lifted straight out of his Stargate movie) and the end result is oddly like one of those clips episodes you used to get in Gerry Anderson shows.

The plot? A space ambulance receives a call to a deserted sector where it discovers a sole survivor and an alien item (which looks like a container of fabric softener). Guess what: both artefact and survivor aren’t what they appear, and soon everyone’s dying horribly as the nutter survivor evolves into... something else. Dum dum duh! It watches like a Now That’s What I Call Sci-Fi Clichés. Good idea to release it for Christmas.

Starburst Rating: 3

The Extras

Is it possible the trailer knows how funny it’s being, by using a montage of dramatic moments (including some lost from the final cut) against a soundtrack of Momma Told Me Not To Come? The 13 deleted scenes (a total duration of 17:40) are of the biggest interest from a film which clearly had a lot of post-shoot difficulties. They include the alternate FX-heavy ending which actually features the supernova of the title a bit more, has a grim significance which unsettles, and the possibility (albeit weak) that it was ‘all a dream’. So add another cliché to the pot then.

Speaking of which, there are the scenes in which a character has been aged backwards to a sort of space-baby, so 2001 it’s embarrassing. While including the deleted footage hasn’t done the film-makers any favours, you have to applaud their courage in doing so. It’s a shame there’s no documentary or voice-over to explain what actually happened between script and screen.

Starburst rating: 5

Reviews © Visual Imagination 2001. Not for reproduction