The Echo Game Movie Review

The Echo Game Movie Review
Old-School Horror - it's even got the school!
Updated: 09-01-2009
The Echo Game, an independently produced genre film directed by Brian Feeney from a script he co-wrote with John William Ross, is the story of seemingly ordinary people with extrasensory powers.
It begins with the fragile and frightened young mother Rachel (Angela Landis) fighting for her life, and interwoven with imagery that's evocative of titles you'd see in a Stuart Gordon movie. You know you're in for classic-style scares as the modern-day tale makes its snazzy introduction. As Rachel is viciously stabbed by her attacker, her eyes blaze bright fluorescent blue, then extinguish.
Cut to Rachel's daughter Sarah (Melissa Lee) who is alive and well… and attracting the unwanted attention of the wicked Anne Cassavettes (played by Judy Clement, her character name a tip of the hat to Brian De Palma's 1978 thriller The Fury, starring the late John Cassevettes). A standout on the FBI's Most-Wanted List, Mrs. Cassevettes is the kingpin of an ESP-stealing conspiracy fronted by a mysterious school which accepts gifted pupils and with the intent of using their powers for evil in "The Echo Project".
Naturally, Anne and her henchmen are willing to kill anyone who stands between them and their must-have star student, Sarah. Sarah's adoptive moms, lesbian couple April (Alisha Seaton) and Casey (Jeannie Bolet), do the best they can to protect her once they discover the threat, but it may be too late.
Horror elements come to the fore with a few gory throat-slashings and some suspense, but I'd categorize The Echo Game as a supernatural thriller. The movie should pleasantly remind astute viewers of The Fury, Firestarter, or a classic Dean Koontz style story. Some of the acting a tad dodgy and I have a couple of character motivation questions, but all in all The Echo Game is one of the better indie genre films I've seen this year (in good company with Dread and Grace). The fact that Feeney has a solid background in editing surely helps. Any logic loops are forgotten as you keep its brisk pace and enjoy the suspense.
There is never a dull moment, and the action is nicely augmented by a great original score (Austin Wintory, who also did Grace) and really fantastic cinematography by Jeffrey Waldron, who used an HVX 500 with film lenses to create depth and add layers of texture. He shoots deep into the sets and uses perspective to his advantage by placing the players in big room, hallways, or with long sidewalks stretching out behind them (think: Dean Cundy on the original Halloween). There are no sickening close-ups, rapid fire edits or shaky-cam. And the color palette is a delight: Especially the red, white and black living room — it's very vintage Jess Franco. Just beautiful.
The Echo Game is a solid directorial first-effort. It definitely piques my curiosity on Feeney's future film forays.
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Reviewed by Staci Layne Wilson
** Stay tuned for our interview with Feeney and producer Asa Shumskas-Tait.
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