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The Independent Critic

Scott Cook, Gerald Delaney, Robert Hesch, Sheila Redman Hoffman, Matthew Faulisi, Richard Mathy Jr., Tobias Motyka, and Michael Gill
Todd Douglas Bailey
Robert Hesch
NR (Equiv. to "R")
93 Mins.
Tizodd Productions, LLC

 "Echo" Review 
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Katie Risello, the daughter of a city mob boss, is kidnapped on her way home from work. Jesse, her boyfriend, and her brother, Frank, recruit their friend, Will, to help them find her. Both men, and even Will, are surprised and a bit alarmed when Will is able to follow a phantom trail after Katie. Will is even more disturbed that he keeps seeing a figure in reflective surfaces that is attempting to communicate with him.

Written by Rob Hesch and directed by Todd Douglas Bailey, Echo is a low-budget dramatic feature that intertwines both the action and fantasy genres into a story that is both intriguing and intelligently written. The film, which recently screened at Corning, New York's Corning Palace Theater to a two screen sell-out, nicely blends the gritty urban world urban gangsters with a supernatural fantasy angle that is inventively realized despite the challenges of producing it on a lower budget.

Much of the success of the film depends upon the performance of Gerald Delaney as Jesse, who anchors the largely unknown cast with a performance that is driven and focused. As is nearly always the case for lower budget indies, the ensemble cast is largely hit-and-miss with some of our performers stretching a bit too high to reach for the film's dramatic heights.

There's much to be admired about Bailey's ability to assemble a small yet competent crew to bring Echo to life, beginning with his own nicely framed camera work to Bruce Hauver II's better than expected special effects and Erin Marie Bailey's contributions in production design.

Reviewing an ultra-indie is always a bit of a challenge, at times my review not really matching up with how much I'd like you to check out the film if given a chance. While a few tech issues and the film's hit-and-miss acting creates a situation where I just can't bring myself to give the film higher than a two-star rating, there are moments in Echo that truly transcend the film's budget challenges and clearly indicate a growing and promising filmmaker. Hesch's script nicely sets up what's going down for each of our main characters, and his ear for natural dialogue is obvious. The great thing about reviewing indies is the opportunity to catch up-and-coming filmmakers, writers, actors and crew as they work their way up the cinematic food chain. Echo doesn't quite gel into a cohesive whole for this critic, but it reveals a talented cast and crew and the heart and soul of the underground film scene.

For more information on Echo, visit the film's Facebook page.

© Written by Richard Propes
The Independent Critic