Sunday, July 29, 2018

I finally saw: Vechoes

I've used my periodic "I Finally Saw" series to discuss finally catching up with broadly defined classics or other films of cultural significance I had not seen before now.

Well, there are exceptions to every rule.

Stir of Echoes was, as I recall, the first prominent horror movie to be released after The Sixth Sense had kind of retooled our expectations of what a horror movie can deliver. In other words, quality, not just schlock.

Stir or Echoes, of course, was not influenced by The Sixth Sense, in any other way than possibly its marketing. It was in the can before anyone knew Sixth Sense would be a hit.

And so, unsurprisingly, it's pretty much schlock. It's decent schlock, as it turns out, but nothing more than that. Nothing memorable.

So the reason I'm choosing to write about it here is because it's just the type of movie I should never have seen after a certain point. If I didn't see this by 2002, it should have gotten lost among the large quantity of Forgettable Genre Films I Will Never See.

And yet I did see it, as I randomly spotted it on the shelf at the library and thought "Huh, I did always expect that I would eventually see that." Eventually turned out to be 19 years later. And only because we ended up postponing our trip to the library, to return it and about 30 others, until Sunday, rather than Saturday, leaving me with it as a potential selection for Saturday night.

I also wanted to write something about it because it was one of a relatively small quantity of films for which some friends and I had a nickname. Not that we talked about it a lot, but when it did come up in conversation, we had a tendency to refer to it as "Vechoes."

The reason for this is probably evident, but I'll spell it out anyway. When you say this title quickly, the words kind of slur together, making the "of" less distinctive and allowing one of each of its letters to attach to the word next to it. So we felt ourselves kind of saying "Stirra Vechoes," which eventually just became "Vechoes."

So yeah, Vechoes was definitely decent. If I didn't admit I got chills a number of times I'd be lying. By the end, you don't feel a great payoff for the chilling moments, making them seem a bit weaker in retrospect, but I certainly can't deny their biological reality at the time they happened.

One thing I thought was interesting to note was that the film is largely devoid of any of the digital effects that would soon take over horror filmmaking. I think of a movie like the American remake of The Ring as being one of the real progenitors in (soon to be interchangeable) digital horror movies, and that was still three years off at that point. It was curious to feel myself waiting for something digitally grisly or spooky to happen, and it never happening. Maybe that's why the chills felt a bit chillier here -- they were refreshingly of the practical variety.

And now it is only practical that I cease discussing this forgettable movie.

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