Directed by –David Parker
Written by – David Parker and Ivan Djurovic
Featuring – Ivan Djurovic, Rick Irwin, Sanny Van Heteren, James Duval
Rob has been asked to house sit for a friend, but a scheduling conflict arises and now he must find someone to take over for him. Enter Andre, Rob’s friend and a man in definite need of some stress free, post concussion convalescing. Well…it’s as stress free as a big and slightly creepy house can possibly allow. And while the cupboards aren’t exactly stocked as promised, there are some intoxicating beverages and “party favors” to be had. While there, Andre must obey one rule above all else – no visitors.
Aside from seeking relaxation, at the suggestion of his doctor, Andre is making a video diary in hopes that it will help him recall details about the accident that resulted in his aforementioned concussion. So with his camcorder in tow, he takes a self guided tour of the house too get the lay of the land. As he makes his way around the house, little things occur that would beg the question as to whether he is alone in the house.
Once he settles in, he prepares to break the most important rule as he readies himself for the woman he’s dating to arrive for a dinner date. His date arrives bearing food, wine and good company, but their evening is interrupted by a knock at the door. A neighbor comes by with a story about escaped convicts who might be in the area, suggesting he check the windows and doors. What starts as a weird but harmless encounter becomes downright awkward, especially when his date unexpectedly leaves while he secures the windows and doors, thus leaving him briefly in the company of the strange guy from down the block.
Despite trying to achieve a modicum of relaxation after the bizarre direction the evening had taken, things begin even more to spiral downward. Is someone or something in the house the root cause of this descent, or have intoxicants on top of a head injury jarred loose his entire sense of reality?
David Parker was at the helm for this film, which he co-wrote with Ivan Djurovic, who is also the lead in the film. Its’ an intriguing story idea, but also one that needed to be expanded on. Perhaps some deeper explanation into some of the plot points, especially since there are some questions that could afford to be answered. The film clocks in at a mere 1 hour and 15 minutes and is something of a cinematic skeleton requiring a bit of fleshing out. What there was I enjoyed, but in the end -I was not completely satisfied.
Overall the performances were solid and consistent, with the right amount of subtlety and at times, intensity. Djurovic’s performance is the foundation on which the film rests. He is genuine and at times even injects just the right amount of tension breaking humor. In my opinion, having James Duval in your film is always a plus and he definitely sinks his teeth into a role that is brief but definitely entertaining to watch. Rick Irwin, as Andre’s friend, and Sanny Van Heteren, as Andre’s dinner date, brought a lot to the table despite their limited screen time.
The film has an interesting, albeit somewhat familiar, visual style. It consists of conventionally shot footage with surveillance and camcorder footage intermingled. That being said, it was shot and cut together very well.
The house that served as the primary location is in itself a character in the film.And while it doesn’t have a traditionally spooky air about it, the color scheme, lighting and decor definitely add a level of creepiness. Of course there are the requisite subtle background cues, both visual and audio, that help to grab the viewer’s attention and suggest someone or something may be lurking about.
Another entry into the “briefly featured, yet still impressive” column would have to be the practical gore effects contributed by make-up effects artist, Vincent Guastini.
One last thing I have to applaud the filmmakers for is the use of footage from the film City of the Dead (1960), as well as Herk Harvey’s classic from 1962, Carnival of Souls.
Sometimes this is the quandary I am faced with – reviewing a film that entertained me while still needing more story depth and development. But in the end It Watches is worth a watch, so I’m fine with giving it a 7 / 10.
Everyone will get their chance to watch it for themselves when it arrives on digital December 6th or have a chance to own it on DVD 2/21/17.