DreadWorld Review: 'It Watches' (2012/2016)


Hey there Sherman, lets' hop into the WABAC machine and head to good old 2012. The Philadelphia Phillies were good, Vine was just starting to become a thing and super talented director Dave Parker finished his film ColdWater. Since then the Phillies have sucked (Yay!). Vine is now no more (also Yay!) and ColdWater...well ColdWater became stagnant water, just sitting there collecting muck on it's surface. That is until our good friends over at Uncork'd Entertainment picked up the title, dusted it off, re-branded it as It Watches, and released it for mass consumption. Yay? Well lets take a look, shall we?

Andre does a good friend a solid by taking over house sitting duties so his friend can go play a gig with his band or something. It's really not that important. What is important is that Andre is now alone in this old, creepy house with nothing but a video camera, a hot girls phone number and what is left of his sanity. Will he survive? Will anyone survive, and if not, who or maybe more accurately, what, is hunting them?

It Watches was directed by Dave Parker ("David" in the clearly more formal credits). Parker, as you may or may not know cur his teeth with Charles Band and Full Moon. Post Full Moon he directed a number of films, including the rather underrated slasher The Hills Run Red and contributed to excellent Halloween themed anthology aptly titled Tales of Halloween. Along with Parker the film was written by it's star Ivan Djurovic, whom you may recognize from Zoombies or playing "Hunky Stock Boy" on 1000 Ways to Die. Regardless of credits, Djurovic is really good as the lead, so It Watches leaves you in safe hands acting-wise.

Where the film leaves you wanting is in it's overall structure...maybe structure isn't the right word, but it's all we can come up with right now. Essentially, It Watches struggles to find an identity. The film dips it's toes into many a horror genre over its 90+ minute run time. Haunted house film - check. Serial Killer drama - check. Slasher flick - check. Creature feature - check. Found Footage film - check. Parker throws all of these things into a blender and almost pulls off a miracle. Unfortunately, the film stumbles in it's third act. Though more accurately, it's really the last 5 minutes or so of the film, where Parker and Djurovic try to pull all the heady strings that they've dangled together where everything comes up a little short.

Until that point however, It Watches is a very good little horror film. There are three or four legitimate jump scares, some really good mannequin based creepiness, and a good bit of the gooeyness that I know a lot of you like. The atmosphere Parker and Djurovic is legitimately terrifying at points. And give them credit where credit is due, It Watches keeps you guessing until the final reveal. It's a shame that the reveal falls flat, because It Watches could have been something really special.

I'm always fascinated by what I like to call "nomenclature bullshit" and while this isn't necessarily a case of "nomenclature bullshit," the title It Watches, especially the "It" part does add to the mystery element of the film. What is "It"? (Sorry Faith No More) I do think that that added question puts undo pressure on a film that struggles to answer that question - at least with any coherence. Perhaps ColdWater was a better name. It eliminates the need for the viewer to know what "It" is.

IT WATCHES - Trailer from Uncork'd Entertainment on Vimeo.

It Watches, regardless of what "it" actually is, is a tight thriller, with some genuinely scary moments (mannequins!) I thought it after watching The Hills Run Red, and I still think it now - Dave Parker is a pretty damn good director. He's been plugging away for a while, so someone out there give him some cash and let him make more films! Of course the first step it you, the reader, It Watches hits VOD on December the 6th, dial it up, make some popcorn and support independent horror.

*** stars out of *****

That's it for me. As always thanks for reading and "enjoy every sandwich."

2 comments:

  1. I totally agree.. that ending could've been done so much better!! But until then I was onboard though the earlier news story already gave away the twist for me.. Ivan was really great in this too!

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