When I was a child my father made the ill-advised decision of allowing me to watch Chucky. I don’t know why he thought it would be a good idea to show his impressionable four-year-old daughter a movie about a killer doll, but I have since been stuck with a fear of dolls so unnatural and large, that I now must insist that these malevolent toys face the walls. Now, the point of me retelling my childhood traumas is to give you a bit of context into how truly lacking in fear The Echo of Fear (El Eco Del Miedo in Spanish) actually is.
The premise of The Echo of Fear, by director Sam Reyes, surrounds a husband and wife, Luis (Roberto Quijano) and Andrea (Sarah Nichols), undergoing a series of financial problems. This results in Luis staying in the city, while Andrea is shipped off to stay two nights in a dilapidated country house with Luis’ young daughter Michel. As if that isn’t bad enough, this estate was previously owned by Luis’ deceased mother. Arriving at the country manor, it is very clear that Andrea and Michel do not like each other. One scene sees Michel committing the cardinal sin of laughing near Andrea, only to have Andrea yell at her to leave the room so she can read her book in peace. Imagine this scene, and how utterly ridiculous it is.
After a bout of exploring, Michel finds a creepy porcelain doll that triggers the supernatural forces in the house to stalk the step-mother and step-daughter duo. When I say stalk, I actually mean mildly annoy, as apparently the film’s idea of horror is things lurking behind you, or in front of you, or just standing around doing absolutely nothing.
Despite a ridiculous script and story, The Echo of Fear could have been saved if the performances in it were even half-way believable and decent. Instead, The Echo of Fear subjects its viewers to 77 minutes of a woman frowning and yelling at a child for nothing. In fact, the only redeeming member of the cast is Michel’s dog, whose canine factor enabled him immune to the self-centred rubbish the scriptwriters decided to have the actors vomit.
The Echo of Fear might have also been good if the movie didn’t treat its audience like idiots. One scene sees Andrea inexplicably running around outside, and the director, for whatever reason, decided that CG rain was the way to go. The problem is that whilst the audience can clearly see and hear the rain, nothing is getting wet. A mere example of the poor choices on display (although, we are being told that this is rectified in a version we haven’t seen).
Sam Reyes has done something truly spectacular with The Echo of Fear, he has managed to turn dolls and horror movies into one of the most banal hour and seventeen minutes of my life. I am not sure whether I should be angry at him for subjecting me to his film or whether I should be thanking him for curing my fear of dolls.
THE REEL SCORE: 3/10