Directed by: Ryan Rothmaier
Run time: 89 minutes
The Lowdown: It’s always nice to see a veteran scream queen get a juicy role in a new horror film, and Denise Crosby, a veteran of all sorts of genre fare from Pet Sematary to Star Trek: The Next Generation, makes the most of her meaty role as Jeanne, the stereotypical nosey neighbor, in writer-director Ryan Rothmaier’s feature-length debut.
It helps that Rothmaier’s The Watcher is an absorbing psychological thriller that keeps you guessing throughout until a major-league swerve and surprise just before the closing credits.
The Watcher doesn’t reinvent the haunted house wheel, nor does it need to. It has a strong enough story and script to engage viewers and keep us from thinking of other films past that played with similar themes and imagery.
It’s not a perfect movie; there’s a key sequence late in the third act that isn’t handled as deftly as it should be so as not to come off as confusing (and it did confuse BVB, to the point we scrolled back to re-watch the sequence two more times, just to make sure we weren’t simply misunderstanding something that should have been more clearly portrayed).
This is one of those movies you may have to seek out, but it’s worth the effort. It’s not one for repeat viewing, but it packs enough surprises on the first viewing to satisfy any horror fan’s weekend itch for a good couchbound feature.
The Stuff You Care About:
Hot chicks – Yes.
Nudity – No.
Gore – Minimal.
Drug use – No.
Bad Guys/Killers – Denise Crosby, showing new scream queens how it’s done.
Buy/Rent – Rent it.
Tales from the Hood: Collector’s Edition (Shout! Factory, 98 minutes, R, Blu-Ray): This 1995 “urban” horror anthology, the precursor to Snoop Dogg’s Hood of Horror, is a great popcorn flick that perfectly utilizes its gritty locale to milk some serious jolts.
Split (Universal, 117 minutes, PG-13, Blu-Ray): M. Night Shyamalan’s best film in 15 years, and also an amazing example of world-bridging between cinematic universes, Split is a brilliant genre picture that portends to something more magical on the horizon. See BVB’s full review from earlier this year.
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