Review: ‘It Watches,’ From Dave Parker, a Quiet & Restrained Film
By: Nicholas J. Spacek
The latest film from Uncork’d Entertainment comes from I.D. Entertainment. It Watches is directed by Dave Parker, best known for the “Sweet Tooth” installment of 2015’s horror anthology, Tales of Halloween. That opening salvo of the film was one of the anthology’s highlights, mixing strangeness, humor, and not a little gore into an effective mix. Given the director’s work in gory, effects-laden projects – such as The Dead Hate the Living! or The Hills Run Red – it isn’t without a little curiosity that one watches Parker’s newest film, with it’s rather more sedate and restrained concept.
It Watches is a haunted house feature, wherein Andre (played by Ivan Djurovic) is helping out a buddy by house-sitting for a bit. Andre’s recently had a bit of a car accident, and injured his arm, as well as suffering a knock to the head which has left him a bit loopy. Andre’s not supposed to have any visitors, but invites his girlfriend, Rachel (Sanny van Heteren) over for dinner, but she disappears when a strange neighbor (Donnie Darko and Independence Day‘s James Duval) visits and begins asking creepy questions.
Throughout all of this, Andre’s convinced that Robert, the buddy for whom he’s watching this house, is trying to freak him out. Robert produces reality shows where they mess with folks, and Andre believes that strange noises and odd things glimpsed out of the corner of his eye might be part of all that. Once Rachel leaves, though, things really begin ratcheting up.
While It Watches is a quiet movie, with most of the suspense and fear depending almost entirely on Djurovic and some clever dutch angles, there are some very uncomfortable moments. The peak of these comes when Andre steps outside after hearing a knock at the door, and we see a shape standing behind him. It follows him, staying just out of his sight, and it’s hair-raising.
Another comes when Andre is smoking what can only be referred to as a massive amount of weed, and watching Carnival of Souls. Parker cuts back and forth between the madness of Andre’s high-induced confusion and the strange imagery of the ’60s Herk Harvey cult classic, and creates a sense of instability and unease which really works.
The film’s ending manages to raise the stakes of It Watches, while also giving Djurovic a solid chance to to show off his acting skills.
While It Watches is definitely a change-up from Parker’s previous works, it’s a solid move which lets the director flex some muscles of which viewers might have previously been unaware.
Keep the Fear Alive!