Review: The Watchers

After several strange encounters, a man begins to question his own sanity and strives to search for the truth. Written and directed by Sy Cody White, co-written by lead actor Jeff Moffitt, also starring: Timothy J. Cox, Peter Francis Span and Kathleen Boddington.

Anyone with the slightest paranoia at some point has probably thought that someone was talking about or watching them but definitely not to the extent of John (Jeff Moffitt). It certainly isn’t the first time a story has begun with a 30-something man feeling like he’s being followed, many a spy, thriller or drama have gone down the same path but surprisingly it manages to be interesting in spite of that. Although it comes several years prior (2010), it has a similar feeling to Soderbergh’s Unsane, especially in the sense of not knowing who to trust, who’s the good guy and what is true, while being told to sympathise with the lead. It does still hit a fair few cliched points in its dialogue but it also avoids becoming too convoluted and steers clear of the classic trap of having 50 different plot twists, which may make it sound simple or easy but with the behemoth list of films that take things way too far, it’s actually commendable that it manages to focus its attention.

There are a couple of issues that the film falls into, its handle on suspense is on the weaker side and it doesn’t build enough to give the film a strong aim or goal, making it harder to invest in John’s ultimate destination. Another issue being his repeated calls to the wife out of caring or worry, quite quickly begin to sound less loving and more like stalking, dampening the impact of the story. That’s not to say that Moffitt’s performance isn’t sympathetic but it is at times over dramatic, but it’s entertaining and he holds the lead well. The supporting cast don’t get a huge chunk of time to make their impact but Peter Francis Span and Timothy J. Cox both do a lot with the little they’re given.

The Watchers feels like the answer to what sort of action-thriller you could make with a micro-budget and it does it surprisingly well. Despite the limitations that you get with a small budget indie project, the film takes full advantage and doesn’t stretch itself too thin, with the result being, to some extent, a short version of something a big studio would make most likely with Bruce Willis or Liam Neeson; you’re not going to mistake it for that film but it does in less than 30-minutes what would take them at least 90.

Verdict: 7/10 | ✯ ✯ ✯

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