DOWN IN THE THIRD
Film Review by Fiore
Poor bookkeeping resulted in my listing THE WATCHER as a May 18th release, when it was released on April 18th. My apologies for keeping all of you waiting for this review. Undaunted, I can tell you THE WATCHER, which is available on home video from Monarch Home Entertainment, is a film filled with classic horror elements through its first two acts. Unfortunately, it falls drastically apart in the third act, creating a feeling of chagrin.
A young couple stretch their budget to buy a house. Unknown to the couple, the house has a history of death. The previous owners were plagued by sickness, suicide and a mysterious man-sized raven creature, shown in the film’s prologue. Once the couple moves in, the same creature begins to plague them. Despite warnings from the previous occupant, the couple is dead fast set on remaining in their new abode.
The film stars Erin Cahill and Edi Gathegi as Emma and Noah, respectively, the young couple who purchase the home; Denise Crosby as Jeanne, the caring neighbor; Riley Baron as her autistic child, Mikey; Obba Babatunde as Detective Stark: and Sab Shimono, as Wendell, the previous owner.
Cahill puts forth a yeoman performance while Gathegi seems to be sleep walking through his role. He is never convincing as a caring husband, and seems more the sinister assassin he played on THE BLACKLIST. Crosby, who once turned heads on the Enterprise, is barely recognizable as the cupcake baking neighbor. The years, and her lifestyle, were not kind to her. Shimono is the only one who attempts a solid performance with a bit of plausibility; but his efforts are not sufficient to raise the level of the production.
1.1 KEY SCENES TO LOOK FOR:
1. WENDELL’S RETURN
2. THE RAVEN ATTACK
Director and writer Ryan Rothmaier pens a decent horror flick for the film’s first fifty minutes. After that, the movie begins to fall apart. Even though its only 89 minutes long, Editor Brett Solem is piecing together sequences with a repetitious similarity. It causes the film to feel considerably longer.
Rothmaier drops the ball completely when he eliminates all the supernatural elements he develops in the first two acts, for a non-logical conclusion in the third. When the demon is known, the horrific elements end; and in this instance, they come crashing down. So much potential in the buildup for a monumental let down in the conclusion.
Let’s take a look at the report card for THE WATCHER:
1.2 ACTING = C
1.3 CINEMATOGRAPHY = C
1.4 SOUND/MUSIC = C
1.5 EDITING = C
1.6 LIGHTING = C
1.7 SCRIPT = D
1.8 SFX = C
1.9 ACTION = C
To demonstrate the neighborhood’s progressive mien, it is inundated with interracial couples, to the point of being noticeable, and unrealistic. In further social commentary, it’s the white folks who are all bat-shit crazy.
THE WATCHER is a fine view for those who like their horror films very light; those comfortable with having solid, explainable rationales for strange goings-on. For those who like true horror, THE WATCHER will leave you unfulfilled.