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Review: Echoes of Fear – “Even the hardened horror fan will be caught frequently flinching”

Written and directed by Brian Avenet-Bradley (Malignant), and co-directed by Laurence Avenet-Bradley (Big Red: The Ghost of Floyd County Prison), Echoes of Fear is released in the UK on the 20th of July to rent and buy digitally and on DVD on the 3rd of August.

Starring Trista Robinson (Killer Babes and the Frightening Film Fiasco), Hannah Race (Billy and the Bandit), Paul Chirico (Penny Dreadful: City of Angels) and Marshal Hilton (The Bunnyman Massacre), Echoes of Fear sees Alisa (Robinson) move into her dead granddad’s (clearly haunted) house to do it up and sell it. While clearing the clutter, Alisa finds some curious clues hinting at something terrible having happened there prior to her granddad’s death. 

Hushed up by her asshole boyfriend, Brandon (Chirico), Alisa enlists her spiritual friend, Steph (Race), to help get to the bottom of the mystery while fending off a jack in the box of a ghost that pops out periodically to scare the bejeesus out of her and also let her know if she’s getting warmer or colder in her sleuthing. 

Echoes of Fear is extremely trope-y and for about an hour the characters and events seem completely stock. Everyone acts, says, and behaves exactly as you would expect in a horror movie, but once the set-up is set up you can almost feel Avenet-Bradley relax and realise now he can have some fun.

The central mystery is actually interesting and the hunting for clues and putting it together is well done. As well as the spectral element, there’s a missing girl, secret rooms, and a creepy squatter to contend with and once it gets going, Echoes of Fear ploughs through the lot confidently while keeping you on your toes and hungry for answers. 

The geography of the house is always unclear though making it often difficult to know where you are and hard to follow the action, which is especially distracting when the house and its layout and secrets are so important to the story. Time can be similarly abstract, with a jump of a week happening in one cut and not made reference to at all – leaving you wondering why a character who only visits at the weekend is suddenly there again, what has happened and if you’ve missed something. 

A hinky approach to time and space can be quickly forgiven if what you want is scares though. There is little suspense, but, boy, has Avenet-Bradley mastered the jumpscare, regularly having a ghost flit out from ANYWHERE. No area of onscreen space is safe and even the hardened horror fan will be caught frequently flinching with two of the dozen or so jumpscares actually being huge and heartstopping. 

Echoes of Fear is most comparable to The Grudge and I See You, but lacks the polish and production value of either. Still, if you want new horror that will not let you down if you want to be jump scared out of your skin: turn the lights down and the volume up. 

Echoes of Fear is released in the UK on the 20th of July to rent and buy digitally and on DVD on the 3rd of August

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