Stir of Echoes - Special Edition
Unfairly swept away in the massive wake of The Sixth Sense when it was originally released at the box office a mere month after M. Night Shyamalan's breakout hit, David Koepp's masterfully creepy adaptation of Richard Matheson's supernatural mystery has found something of a second life on the home-video market, and gets the royal treatment in this release from Lions Gate Home Entertainment. Presented in 1.85:1 anamorphic widescreen, the image is crisp and clear throughout -- sporting solid blacks, spot-on skin tones, and perfectly balanced colors that are bold and vibrant without becoming oversaturated. A variety of audio options are also sure to please, no matter what choice the viewer makes, with the DTS-ES mix, in particular, offering a fantastic mix that truly manages to work its way under the viewer's skin. Director Koepp certainly understands the importance of sound as an element to put viewers in a remarkable state of unease, and this track is a prime example of the effectiveness of a supremely well-done audio mix. Once viewers have had a chance to watch the feature, Lions Gate offers them an impressive amount of extras, which stand in stark contrast to the previous, relatively bare-bones DVD release. This disc may also impress horror fans by offering what may perhaps be the creepiest menu screen around (which, although tricky to navigate at times, captures the eerie, unearthly tone of the film perfectly). Koepp's audio commentary track is always interesting, with the humble director frequently pointing out his shortcomings, making note of inspiration given to him by fellow directors Brian De Palma and Steven Soderbergh, and offering great insight into both the characters and special effects. A making-of segment clocks in at just over 20 minutes, including interviews with the director, actors, and producers and ending with a promise from the director that he will scare you one way or another. Though some may question the absence of book author Matheson in this segment, the former Twilight Zone writer shows a keen understanding of the hypnosis process in "The Mind's Eye: Beneath the Trance" -- which also includes an interview with hypnotherapist Dr. Marc Schoen. Parapsychologist Dr. Larry Montz weighs in with a particularly spooky tale of a true-life case that was eventually solved with a little help from the other side in "Sight of Spirits: Channeling the Paranormal," with brief special effects and production design featurettes offering interviews with visual effects supervisor Casey Cannon and production designer Nelson Coates. Deleted scenes are a bit dark and really offer nothing more to the film, and "Behind the Scenes/Final Shot Comparisons" offers a peek at the filming in action and an interesting side-by-side look at the shoot and the final product. Three screen tests take viewers behind the scenes for makeup and movement tests, with Moist's video for the song "Breathe" wrapping things up nicely.