After picking up award after award on the festival circuit, one of the most unique indie horror movies of 2019 is now available On Demand, Echoes of Fear. Creeping into cinemas around the country over the last several weeks and new to On Demand, Echoes of Fear represents the ingenuity of independent horror movies, scaring the pants off an unsuspecting audience.

A Couple That Makes Horror Movies Together Stays Together

Plot: Alisa inherits her grandfather’s house following his sudden death from an apparent heart attack. She cannot keep the house so travels there to prepare it for sale. While she is packing away her grandfather’s belongings, some strange and unexplained events inside the house starts to spook her and she soon comes to the conclusion that she is not alone. Even her pet mouse senses a presence.

Something supernatural lurks in the house and she begins to believe that her grandfather was trying to find something before he died. When her friend Steph arrives, they attempt to solve the mystery and what they uncover together forces them to confront the diabolical truth and the evil that hides inside.

Director(s): Brian Avenet-Bradley, Laurence Avenet-Bradley

Writer: Brian Avenet-Bradley

Rating: NR

Runtime: 90 minutes of bone-chilling spookitude

Cast: Trista Robinson (Alisa), Hannah Race (Steph), Marshal Hilton (David) and Paul Chirico (Brandon)

Horror movies featuring creaky stairs, things going bump in the night and malevolent apparitions tend to follow certain familiar tropes we’ve seen over and over, ad nauseam. Haunted house movies are the warm bowl of soup on a cold winter’s day of the horror genre, and it’s with those expectations that husband and wife directors Brian and Laurence Avenet-Bradley lull you into a cozy familiarity—only to snatch it away, revealing long-buried depravity.

Echoes of Fear Shows That Horror Movies Can Still Scare You Shitless

This horror film begins in classical haunted house fashion: A relative leaves their estate to a close family member. Said family member, the scrappy Alisa, moves into the home to begin cleaning it out for sale, which is when the spookiness starts.

Most unique about these stretches is the one-woman show they put on, with actress Trista Robinson holding her own as the sole figure on screen, near dialogue-less, with only brief interludes of other characters, such as the kindly but sickly old neighbor David or greedy absentee boyfriend Brandon. 

For the majority of the film, her only companionship to play off of is her pet mouse, adding a sense of voyeurism to the proceedings. The house’s echoing corridors take on a life of their own, becoming oppressive in their darkness

The film’s low budget actually works in its favor aesthetically when it comes to the home—the directors’ own—as there’s a stark realism and banality, where even the ever-creepy crawlspace and attic feel no different than yours. As Alisa wanders around, the ghostly goings-on intensify, giving us the first good look at the unrested soul causing all the ruckus and, boy, is this design something to behold.

Going back to that everyday banality of the house, with its lack of traditionality in design and lighting to telegraph scares, when this thing pops out of nowhere—aggressive, fast-moving and angry—it really does scare the ever-living shit out of you. Not too proud to say, there were legit moments where seats were jumped out of.

But before getting too hunkered down in what seems like a standard ghost flick, the film throws out everything you think you know about the horror tropes and beats of these stories. Echoes of Fear blindsides you with twists and turns that’d make horror movies like The Changeling and Stir of Echoes proud.

Nobody Puts Baby in A Crawlspace

Beyond turning your preconceived notions against you, this is a horror movie where the protagonist, refreshingly, runs at the danger.

Alisa, along with her best friend, Steph, are constantly active and deductive, driving the plot forward instead of the plot driving them. The males in the story are a non-factor for a majority—and for a very important point. This is a movie very subtly and not-so-subtle about women and the ways in which men attempt to control and use them. 

In grand horror film tradition, the concept of the Final Girl comes into play, but with an otherworldly spin. This indie horror flick boasts a disturbing finale far more gruesome and visceral than any ghost, all ensuring you’ll be paranoid about what’s lurking in your crawlspace for years to come.

While it’s not necessarily their first rodeo, Echoes of Fear still marks a solid debut onto a larger stage for the Avenet-Bradley’s. With some more polish toward things like dialogue and exposition, they could deliver us further unique twists on what we already find familiar.

Well earning of the award-winning praise, it’s another great showing for what indie horror movies offer, so do yourself a favor, avoid all spoilers and check one of the most unique ghost stories of the year.

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