They're Watching Movie Review
Written by Karin Crighton
Released by Amplify
Written and directed by Jay Lender and Micah Wright
2016, 95 minutes, Not Rated
Released on March 25th, 2016
Brigid Brannagh as Becky Westlake
David Alpay as Greg Abernathy
Carrie Genzel as Kate Banks
Kris Lemche as Alex Torini
Mia Faith as Sarah Ellroy
Dimitri Diatchenko as Vladimir Filat
Becky wants to find her perfect dream home. Unfortunately, she's an artist and her budget is limited. So she settles on a run-down disaster in Eastern Europe. Confident she can turn it around, she promises House Hunters International they'll see a complete 180 when they return in six months to follow up. Considering the state of the hovel, House Hunters team Kate, Alex, Sarah, and Greg are naturally shocked when they find the house transformed into a beautiful country cottage. But the miraculous turnaround isn't the only strange thing going on. The whole town is pretty strange...and they aren't pleased to see the film crew.
I saw this the same week as The Witch, and oddly enough, I drew some parallels between these two films. They're Watching isn't subtle or artful like The Witch, but the ending was still a surprise and I was very pleased with the direction and suspense.
Writers/directors Jay Lender and Micah Wright keep the cards close in They're Watching, making sure the watcher doesn't suspect where the danger is coming from until it's too late for anyone to escape. For a relatively low-budget movie, it keeps the tension bubbling very well. They're Watching loses a little traction with the attempted love story with the beautiful young intern Sarah (Mia Faith) and the handsome veteran/cameraman Greg (David Alpay). Their personal issues with disliking their boss make them seem petty and spoiled, considering their job consists of traveling for free, getting ruined-drunk on the company dollar, and hooking up in free accommodations. It's hard to feel bad for them, and in turn hard to get on board with thinking, “if only these two found love”.
Some of the events are old hat for horror movies; the team accidentally disrupts a private, sacred event and angers the town. Despite attempting to make amends, they continually put their feet in their respective mouths, insulting and frightening the locals in increasingly disastrous levels. Some of the transgressions are eye-roll worthy, but a few are pulled off well enough that you forgive their familiarity.
The place where They're Watching gives away its power is the final sequence. When the time comes for those who were wronged to get their revenge against those who did wrong, the special effects get very SyFy channel. The violence and gore are so over the top, it becomes comical. A more subtle, off-screen-but-still-heard approach might have made this film a bit more classy and higher rent.
They're Watching isn't the best movie I've seen, but it's a great revenge film that reminds us that we don't always know who's in the right.