Echoes of Innocence DVD Review
Written by Neon Maniac
DVD released by Life Size Entertainment
Written and directed by Nathan Todd Sims
2005, Region 1 (NTSC), 117 minutes, Rated PG-13
DVD released on March 28th, 2006
Sarah's mother was the town whore. Because her mother had been banged more times than the bumper cars at Coney Island, Sarah decided to not become a harlot and save herself for marriage. When she was 12, she dedicated her virginity to her friend Chris, promising to marry him on her 18th birthday. Together they would lose their innocence under the vows of holy wedlock.
Sadly, right after that, Chris moved away and was mysteriously never heard from again. Sarah is now in high school, obsessed with Joan of Arc, and still a virgin; but maybe not for long. Alec, the school bad boy, wants to pluck her fruit and will stop at nothing. Also on the scene is Dave, the new kid in school. He also has some odd fascination with Sarah and her virginity. What could it be?!
What will Sarah do? Will she lose her virginity - and if so - to which boy and will God be happy or sad?
Oh, the horror.
Echoes of Innocence is marketed as a Christian faith based Horror/Thriller/Suspense/Teen Drama. Well, in reality it seems to be a Catholic based teen melodrama. There is no suspense, no horror, and the only thrill to be had was when I finally pressed the eject button to exorcise the disc from my player.
The young cast is quite good, especially considering the horribly cheesy and overly dramatic lines they are forced to repeat. The dialogue was written so bad, it is almost guaranteed that these words would never come out of a teenager's mouth, regardless of what their virginal status was. The script is riddled with so many symbols, morality plays and teen virginity agonies that any subtlety is lost and every scene seems to hit you over the head with it all. If you do not believe me, listen to the commentary. Sims will point out everything in case you missed it the first time. Over and over again. In short, Echoes comes off as a failed spin-off pilot from the WB's "7th Heaven". The funny thing is, this film makes a bigger deal of teen virginity than actual teens do.
This is filmmaker Nathan Todd Sims first film, and you can tell. It is overly dramatic and it is plagued by stock characters that do not exist in real life. But, nobody's first time is the best, is it? Aside from the horrible dialogue, and odd pacing of the film, it is just plain horrible to watch. Sims must have gotten a set of filters for his birthday, because he trots them all out at various times. The overall look of the film is soft and hazy. Overly so. If a scene is not incredibly dark and poorly lit, then chances are it is going to be tinted blue. Because, as Sims says in the commentary, that means it is cold. During the flashback and 'visionary' scenes of the film it not only becomes softer and bluer, but it gets an odd little frame at the top and bottom, too. Sims does have talent, and if he got off his soapbox and put away his toys, he could probably make a good film one day.
Chances are, if you are a teen and belong to a church group of some sort, you will end up having to watch this movie at some point in the near future. It's the type of film that Youth Leaders seem to think is important and has a message for modern teens. It does not. It is a bad joke of a film. It is horrid waste of two hours.
Keep your virginity and avoid this movie at all costs.
Video and Audio:
This is a 1.85:1 non-anamorphic transfer. It gets more and more frustrating to see non-anamorphic releases of films in a widescreen aspect ratio as time goes on. Hopefully soon these studios will get a clue and realize that more and more of their viewers have (or will have) a widescreen television. This was forgivable three years ago, now it is not. The picture quality itself is decent, but is very dark, very soft and the colors are tweaked. More about this below.
Echoes has a 2.0 stereo soundtrack. You can hear what the actors are saying, although the music would dramatically swell too loudly at times. And by "at times" I mean almost all of the time.
Thankfully, the only special features on Echoes is a couple of trailers and a filmmaker commentary. The commentary is kind of boring, and Nathan Todd Sims seems to be afraid to stop talking.
(Neon's Movie Lounge contains a Zenith 42" Plasma EDTV, Oppo DV971H DVD player using a DVI connection, JVC 5.1 DD/DTS receiver and JBL Northridge E Series speakers.)