20th July 2020 (UK VOD Release), 3rd August 2020 (UK DVD Premiere)
After inheriting her grandfather's house, a young woman must confront the mystery of his sudden death and the evil that hides inside.
Brian Avenet-Bradley, Laurence Avenet-Bradley
Trista Robinson, Hannah Race, Paul Chirico
In Brian & Laurence Avenet-Bradley’s micro budget Echoes of Fear, Alisa is tasked with cleaning up her recently deceased grandfather’s house so it can be sold. Things begin to go bump in the night almost immediately, but when disturbing visions begin to cloud Alisa’s mind, she must delve deeper into the history of the house – and confront terrifying truths about her own lineage.
Originally premiering in 2018 at various horror festivals in the US, Echoes of Fear found a home for UK release through Second Sight films. Achieving success and acclaim on the indie circuit, the film picked up six ‘Best Feature’ awards at numerous genre showcase events on its initial run of America. For the UK, the DVD box art is daubed in plaudits and four star ratings. As you can see, I’ve given it a four – but it certainly ain’t out of five. Its marketing material proudly shouts of its ‘fresh new take on the haunted house film’. That’s quite the claim and as such, a level of anticipation naturally comes along with it. Unfortunately, for me, these claims are unfounded, with Echoes of Fear feeling as ‘fresh’ as months-old milk, ticking every box of the countless spooky abode films that precede it.
The biggest culprit is its lead in Trista Robinson. Whether intentional or not, Robinson’s Alina is a downright dozy character. It works in her favour when investigating unusual bangs and thuds around the home on her own or fearlessly crawling through the tight space below the house, because I felt like she’d be too dense to realise the danger involved in her actions. But when it comes to interacting with the few other characters in the picture – oh, boy. It’s painful to have to listen to the primitively written dialogue between her and, well, anyone else really. Attempts at deeper meaning conversations are laughably bad, with one exchange between Alina and her friend genuinely including the line “Just ’cause it’s in your head, doesn’t make it not real. That’s where all reality is.” Uh, yeah. Sure. Real reassuring.
Atrocious acting aside, Echoes of Fear does have flourishes of creativity in its horror elements. The timing of scares is noticeably offbeat and there’s some moments of misdirection involving its demonic creature which admittedly caught me of guard. Without giving any spoilers, there are some real-life stories which seem to have inspired its main narrative which, like any true-crime, are scarier than anything found within the film. Its cinematography is occasionally inventive too, employing plenty of shadow work and rapid montages to invoke a shiver or two.
Overall though, its distractingly bad acting and all-too-familiar tale of a house holding on to its past which has been told many times before, Echoes of Fear is a hollow imitation of louder – and better – stories that’s best left unresponded to.
Echoes of Fear is available on UK Digital Platforms from 20th July 2020 and on DVD from 3rd August 2020.
Intermittent creative flourishes in its horror through cinematography and offbeat scares
Lead is insufferable
Rest of cast don't fare much better
Feels laboriously long even at a deceptively short 90 minutes