• Name: They’re Watching
• Year: 2016
• Country: USA, Romania
• Director: Jay Lender and Micah Wright
• Main cast: Mia Marcon, Kris Lemche, David Alpay
• Runtime: 95 minutes
• Production company: Best Served Cold Productions, Warsong Entertainment
They’re Watching is a horror comedy written and directed by two former SpongeBob SquarePants writers. Having grown with watching SpongeBob and the strange humor that permeates the show, the idea of two of these writers crafting a horror movie was too tempting an offer to pass up.
Using found footage style filming, Lender and Wright keep it fresh by framing the footage as an HGTV style show. The first few minutes follow an odd couple, complete with chipper voice over and graphics, as they purchase a “fixer upper” in a small, superstitious village in Eastern Europe. The bulk of the movie then takes place during the 6 months check up where the “after” shots for the show are filmed.
Early on we are introduced to the two best characters, Vladimir (played by Dimitri Diatchenko) and Becky (played by Brigid Brannagh) and it was to my great disappointment that they aren’t in it nearly enough. Instead, the focus is on a trio of Americans who hold the film back.
The character development for the three makes zero sense, and their backstories are shoe horned into a plot that doesn’t benefit from all the extra information. Any scene that is only the three of them is awkward at best, cringe worthy more often than not. A majority of the “comedy” is derived from poorly executed jokes that revolve around how poor the people of the village are and it takes nearly an hour for the horror to actually begin.
There is a lot that They’re Watching gets wrong, but once the film picks up, it does get something right. The horror is well done, equal parts gross and interesting. With Brannagh back in the limelight for the last third of the movie, the humor becomes more subtle and pointed.
It may not be as well done as some other more notable horror comedies, but if you can sit through a rather slow hour with only a few good gaffs, They’re Watching does end with a bang that almost makes the hour of tedium worth while.
IMDB URL: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt3096858
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