They’re Watching has appeared on my suggested list in Prime for what feels like forever, so I decided to give it a shot.
I suppose it was only a matter of time before we saw a mash-up of house hunting shows with a found footage horror film. These sort of “what if” horror films can be a lot of fun and while this one isn’t necessarily doing anything new that doesn’t mean it is bad.
The best part of the film is how dead-on they are with the house hunting show vibe while still being a bit satirical with it. What is funny to me is that it is obviously played for laughs, but it isn’t really that different from the actual shows. The only thing I wanted them to bring in more was some joke about how these two have a budget for their home.
We follow a young couple who move to Moldova (and a team who come to help them via their home improvement show) and odd things start to happen. Is the house actually haunted? Or are these weird villagers hiding a dark secret?
The worst part of this film is that the home improvement folks aren’t the most likable. I think they’re going for off kilter and edgy humor, but they kind of just seem like dicks. Tensions between the characters is an annoying staple in horror and it rears its head here. Having people be pissy with each other while still trying to be funny isn’t any more engaging than people just being pissy…
I’ve probably griped about poor characters (or poor relations) about a million times at this point. This one is a little less egregious than others, but I wish we could simply drop this trope. It doesn’t add tension and it isn’t engaging.
The weird little village is expectedly weird. Our camera crew interrupts a funeral, and the villagers are pissed, which is reasonable. The hostility towards the crew makes some sense, but we end up trying to tie in a lot of witch lore and stuff, which doesn’t fully fit.
We end up with too many moving pieces for the story to mesh well. Between the original house hunting spoof (which sadly drops off), the crew, the couple, the producers, the lore, the village, and the tensions between them all we have an overstuffed story. Oddly, the story is paced too slowly, which is somewhat paradoxical given all the factors at play.
As things get even more complex the situation continues to devolve into danger for our crew. However, it is kind of hard to care as there isn’t anyone to root for by the film’s conclusion. The film is missing something. Whether that is more gore or more humor I’m not sure. Right now, it just doesn’t come together to be a memorable experience.
I didn’t hate the film. I think for most it will be entertaining enough even if it ends up being largely forgettable. I can’t imagine this one getting much of a cult following, but it isn’t bad enough to be completely disregarded. If you like found-footage or horror/humor in particular you might get more mileage out of this one than I did.