American remakes of films not originally in the English language are often tiresome affairs. In my opinion, the genre that has been most victimised by this unfortunate trend is that of the Asian horror movie (if one can call it such a genre). Here we have another watered-down US grim-fest, though interestingly it’s directed by Yam Laranas, the man behind the original (2004’s Sigaw). This remake has been on the shelf since 2008, which may explain why it isn’t receiving a theatrical release in this country.
Our leading man is played by Jesse Bradford, who does his best with the bland script to convince us his flat is being haunted. He is an ex-convict, trying to get his life back on track. But ghosts and scary things don’t want him to live in peace, so he has to spend most of his time skulking around his eerie apartment block (quite often semi-naked, of course) trying to work out what’s happening.
There are precious little points of interest about the film, but if I were to pick one it would be the cinematography by Matthew Irvine. Though there isn’t much intelligence elsewhere in the picture, Irvine succeeds in making the frame look attractive and atmospheric.
While we are on the subject of good points (though this isn’t really to do with the film itself), I must mention what a gorgeous transfer Metrodome Distribution have given the film. There’s no HD release in the UK (you’ll have to import it from the States if you want that), but the DVD looks truly fantastic, especially when watched on a Blu-ray player on a big high definition TV. In an age when a surprising number of films get lazy transfers to cheap discs, it’s great when you get one that really exploits the DVD format to the best of its abilities.
The Echo (2008), directed by Yam Laranas, is released on DVD in the UK by Metrodome Distribution, Certificate 15.