The Echo: Sneak Peek

A lot of Japanese horror films (and even Thai films) have impressed Western audiences that they were remade for Hollywood digestion. Would you believe that a Filipino film has already reached this podium? With "The Echo", the Western remake of "Sigaw", this is realized. Even more astounding is that Iza Calzado stars in this film and Yam Laranas is the director for "The Echo". Read more to see the synopsis and production notes of the film.

In 2004, director Yam Laranas released the horror movie Sigaw, which went on to become a huge hit both here and abroad. A year later, Yam received a call from a Daily Variety reporter who told him that a producer named Roy Lee wanted to watch it, so he sent a copy to the States.
When producer Roy Lee watched Sigaw, he loved it. “Certain scenes made me jump and I have seen so many other horror movies where that never happens,” Roy said. It just so happened that he served as a mediator between Hollywood and Asia—he is the man behind the Hollywood remakes of so many Asian horror films which include The Ring I, II & III (Ringu, 1998, Japan), The Grudge I, II & II (Ju-on, 2000, Japan), The Departed (Mou gaan dou [Infernal Affairs], 2002, Hong Kong), The Lake House (Siworae, 2002, Korea ) and Dark Water (Honogurai mizu no soko kara, 2002, Japan).

“Sigaw stood out as a really well-crafted movie and when I found out Yam had made the film for well under a million dollars and had done such a great job, I wondered about what kind of picture he might make if he was given the resources to do a full Hollywood production,” recalled Lee.
So it was that Yam’s masterpiece started its journey from Manila to Manhattan and from Sigaw to The Echo. Some changes were made to Sigaw to make it more suited for American audiences. In the original, the main character just moved into a new apartment. When he questioned the screams he heard coming from it, his girlfriend tried to get him to move out, but he refused out of pride.

For North American audiences, pride alone isn’t a reason to keep an apartment. “We solved that problem by giving Bobby, the main character, a criminal record and because of the terms of his parole, Bobby has to stay in the apartment where his late mom used to live,” explained Tyler Mitchell, one of The Echo’s producers. The Echo’s setting was also changed from Manila to Manhattan.

American actor Jesse Bradford takes over the role that Richard Gutierrez brought to life. When approached to play Bobby Reynolds, he was given Sigaw to watch and that sealed the deal. “I thought Yam had a terrific visual sense and I had never taken on a role like this.”
Meanwhile, Iza Calzado reprises her role as the victimized wife. “It’s hard to find someone who can be both sympathetic and horrific in the same film. Iza lends herself well to both,” says Mitchell.

For Director Laranas, the experience of remaking Sigaw was an epiphany. “I got to relive the days when I made the original, but correcting my mistakes and making it better this time, working with people who were there to help me tell the story better and on a bigger scale, and that was gratifying.”

Catch our review of "The Echo" by clicking this link.

To be released by Viva International Pictures locally, The Echo will hit theaters on September 30, 2009.

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