Written and directed byJay Lender and Micah Wright They’re Watching is a vastly entertaining blackly comic horror film set in Eastern Europe. It is yet another POV film, but without a unique device like the 2015 horror film “Nightlight.” While that medium is wearing out its welcome, this film manages to almost make it work.
They’re Watching is about a US home improvement show gone international. Potential American home buyer Becky Westlake (Brigid Brannagh) finds a “fixer-upper” in Moldova. The artist and her professional soccer player boyfriend renovate a dilapidated house and outbuildings in Pavlovka.
The camera crew of this realty show return to Moldova to see Becky’s progress on the house. This group of “ugly American’s” manage to annoy everyone and outrage the community. Before doing their bit to create an international incident, they meet up with local estate agent Vladimir (Dimitri Diatchenko) who sold the property to Becky.
Greg (David Alpay) and Sarah (Mia Faith) are caught filming a funeral service for three dead children. They get found out when Kate (Carrie Genzel) calls Sarah on the walkie. Alex (Kris Lemche) buys some pot from a local while Greg and Sarah flee the church. he local cop tries control the situation.
They’re Watching is a good bit of POV fun. The crew and star of the house renovation show bicker and argue . They also take time to have some laughs. The production crew are split into slightly more savvy world travelers and the new kid Sarah.
The newest member of the crew is amazed that this tiny European village has no Starbucks. “How do they live without caffeine,” she cries. The locals burned a witch at the stake 100 years before and it seems that they still believe in witches.
This film is more a comedy of errors than a comedy of terrors. Although to be fair the last few minutes of the movie does have a good bit of horror in it. In keeping with the theme of a horror film that does not take itself seriously, however, the “magical’ effects are rather schlocky.
Show host Kate Banks is pushy, arrogant and strong willed. Camera man Greg is haunted by an event in Afghanistan. Sound man Alex takes nothing seriously and Sarah has just graduated from film school.
Banks is thoroughly unlikeable and Sarah is cute in that puppy dog sort of way. Alex is the funniest of the lot as he literally takes nothing seriously.. Vladimir, gregarious Moldovan realtor, is the comic relief; full of homilies and advice.
The film is not to be taken seriously as a horror film. It is a good bit of fun as it makes fun of the reality realty television market. It also has a jab at the horror genre. The movie does feel a little like a comic version of Hostel or The Shrine.
Lender and Wright also appear to give a sly wink to the 1972 film Frogs, starring Ray Milland and a very young Sam Elliott. Their film changes direction several times before ending on a hokey magical massacre in the outskirts of Pavlovka.
In terms of fun They’re Watching is a solid 4 star film. Despite using the tired POV format it is enjoyable and fun. As long as the viewer is not looking for serious scares they will enjoy this film.
The film is streaming on Netflix at the moment and is worth a look or two. How can one not love a film with the line, “Shut up and eat your goat d**k?”