Originally published on Flickering Myth on 01/12/16.
However harsh it might seem to pick on the flurry of micro-budget horrors constantly doing the rounds, rest assured, It Watches fully deserves it. Some directors have a knack for taking nothing-budgets to pretty extreme heights and crafting some seriously affecting scares with them, but sadly this is no where even near the case with this aggressively stupid, tactless cash-grab. There might be a few laughs or jumps here and there for the Netflix crowd, but on the whole this is a fairly low-point for an already wrung-out genre.
There’s not an awful-lot wrong with the initial set-up, as very obviously one-dimensional as it is; all spooky house horrors have to start somewhere. And once you’re past the almost painfully ropey intro that basically lays out all of the unneeded exposition possible so clearly that the actors might as well have been breaking the fourth fucking wall the whole time, there is some semi-watchable mood building knitted in underneath. Well, for about five minutes or so.
Then things basically just dissolve into what we’ve already seen millions of times before, but shot and edited on consumer-grade mush on a set that looks pretty much recycled from the repo’ed backlots of Tommy Wiseau’s masterpiece of awful The Room. And with a comparison like that you might even be thinking/hoping for a chirpy low-rent chiller that borders on that loveable “so-bad-it’s-good” gravy-train that Sharknado and co. have monopolised as of late, but again, that would simply just lead to yet another overwhelming let-down.
Sure, there are silly moments here and there; a second-act turn that wouldn’t feel out of place in a porn film; a jump-scare from a random mannequin wearing a gas-mask (“art” apparently); or even a totally mystifying ending that completely debunks almost everything that came before it. But, to be honest, on the whole there’s not really enough to even laugh at here either.
Between the occasional dodgy GoPro shots and general feeling of ineptness, it’s no real surprise that this was actually shot way back in 2012, and is only being de-shelved now thanks to a bit of re-marketing to capitalise on another big cheap-o horror push, but don’t by any means let that serve as an excuse. It Watches is just an insanely badly made film, that can’t even string together a sensical plot or a basic, semi-likeable character, let alone any sense of honest tension.
Despite the odd flash of an interesting shot or a vaguely freaky set-up that, at times, might hint at something more under the surface, this is pretty much a solid waste of 80-minutes or precious, precious life. Maybe if you have friends over and you’re very, very, very drunk it might raise a giggle or two, but as a horror film this is little more than an entirely forgettable failure.
It Watches is out in the UK on DVD now.