“Sing me now asleep; then to your offices and let me rest.”
Titania, A Midsummer Night’s Dream
People who live in glass houses…shouldn’t pop Ambien and live out of cell phone range.
Echoes is a supernatural thriller set in the middle of the California desert, in a gleaming abode that’s a bit like the Glass Pavilion of the Toledo Museum of Art that could easily double as a profile piece in Architectural Digest.
It’s an out-of-the-way retreat for a harried LA script agent Paul (Steven Brand) who’s made the bad career move of sleeping with an aspiring screenwriter Anna played by Kate French (who’s probably made a good career move).
Because this is supernatural territory, something unbelievable has to happen to one of them, who disbelieves the other and there has to be prolonged periods of solitude. To wit, agent Paul is called back to La La Land for an important meeting and Anna’s left to her own thoughts and devices with the furry succor of a Bernese mountain dog, Shadow.
Anna suffers from sleep paralysis and insomnia, and experiences dreams of all stripes, haunted by pixie wraiths and even Black Friday shopping extravaganzas starring Prince (which of these would be more frightening?)
In an attempt to ease the passage into dreamland and avoid the morning sun from California’s blazing high desert, she blocks out windows with garbage bags, only to awaken to find someone’s scrawled a cryptic date on the glass (and there’s only one person living within miles of their property — a rather creepy RV-dwelling Canadian, Jeremy).
In the midst of her semi-conscious wanderings, she hits her head and is dragged inside by the Canuck, who isn’t what he appears (or is he?). She then witnesses something incriminating on the security cam, which we won’t divulge here but what sets this apart from other films of its ilk.
Spooked, she visits a local Indian shaman (“we believe spirits can possess the body while you sleep”) who dangles a stone over her bosom, blows smoke all around her and tries to get to the bottom of what could be insomnia-induced delusions.
Echoes’ first hour has, well, many echoes of other supernatural thrillers. Then at the midway point, it becomes shocking and much more compelling. Slow, pretty, at times harrowing and mostly fascinating, Echoes is definitely worth a look. Add half a star if you’re partial to this subgenre.
*** (out of 5)