A married couple struggle to overcome the brutal murder of their daughter, and end up moving to an old house which used to belong to an ‘old, crazy witch’ in an attempt to re-build their lives.
However, the move does quite the opposite as they are soon visited by the ghost of a girl who seems to be trying to contact them.
They then make it their mission, using spiritual mediums and personal detectives, to uncover the truth about their daughter and unravel the message that the ghost is so desperate to communicate.
When I read the summary, I thought that it all sounded a bit familiar. Couple lose kid; marriage goes bad; they move to improve things, and soon get visited by the ghost of a little girl. Is the ghost that of their child? Or is it something else?
The problem with films of this nature (such as What Lie Beneath) is that they end up being more of a detective story, rather than a horror one, which is initially what lets Haunted Echoes down.
First off, the movie looks as if it was shot with the intention of it going straight to DVD. Although it was made in the US with a seemingly reasonable budget, the general quality reminded me of one of those cheesy tele-dramas that my Grandma used to like: ‘Fatal Vision’ – one woman’s struggle against poorly fitting contact lenses, or ‘Forbidden Passion’ – one man battles to overcome his infatuation with a flight of stairs.
If you have Sky or cable, it’s the sort of thing that you could find on the Hallmark channel, probably on a Sunday afternoon.
Okay, so the story is pretty messed up. Child abuse, murder, cats cooked in the microwave… But if it wasn’t for these small factors, there wouldn’t really be anything that horrifying about it.
So, curiously, the budget is there; the acting isn’t the worst I have seen; there are even a couple of familiar faces (Sean Young and M. Emmet Walsh); and I could even forgive the cheap special effects if the story wasn’t so confused and pointless.
I can’t understand how funding was ever found for the idea, let alone how they managed to secure some recognised actors.
It’s poorly scripted, and it seems that far too much time is meant explaining things, withouth anything actually making much sense. Lots of dialogue about the unimportant, and little explanation of the more vital things like ‘who people are’, ‘what their relationship is with the main characters’, and generally ‘why are they talking for 10 minutes about nothing?!’
It’s even pretty obvious early on that the ghost isn’t that of the murdered child, as it basically looks like a young woman as opposed to the 9 year old who was killed. So that ruins that little ‘twist’ too.
I tried to watch it all, and look beyond the flaws. But the shockingly bad choral-synth music, and the shoddy camera work (chasing the actors around rather than cutting to various different shots and angles) was too much.
Future efforts by director Harry Bromley Davenport and writer, Rachel Calendar are definitely to be avoided.
The only thing about this film that will ‘haunt’ me is how bad it was.
Additional film information: Haunted Echoes (2008)