Friday, March 25, 2016

They're Watching (2016)

From Micha Wright and Jay Lender who wrote for TWO ANGRY BEAVER, PHINEAS AND FERB, SPONGEBOB SQUAREPANTS not to mention a dozen or so video games comes THEY'RE WATCHING a send up of the found footage horror genre that manages to be neither funny nor scary and which probably no one will watch.

A film crew returns after six months to Moldova to see how an American artist made out with her extreme fixer upper that is part of a House Hunters style TV show. Immediately things go side ways as they annoy the towns folk by being rude at the funeral of three children believed to have been killed by a witch. Things go even more off the rails when its revealed that the person they are profiling is believed to be the witch since she lives alone outside of town and never goes to church.

Making a knowing spoof of a sub-genre that is largely a self inflicted joke is kind of pointless. Too many found footage films are funny unto themselves for all the wrong reasons and sending them up is neither hard nor prudent since the real films are much more funny even if its for all the wrong reasons.

To be honest the film might have worked had the film picked a tone, but it can't pick being either straight forward nor spoofy, with the result is it's neither. Clearly Wright and Lender know their genre since they have people constantly ponder why everyone is filming everything, and more importantly they give us a reason to be seeing the footage (Someone survives with the footage), but they can't make the knowing tone of the film match the fear of the characters on screen- especially when the towns people are pretty much cartoon sketches of typical angry villagers.

Actually they misstep badly by making most of the film crew unlikable. Yes it's par for the course of found footage genre films to have assholes as lead characters, but that's also a reason that many people, myself included, hate the genre, we don't want to watch assholes on screen, especially when they are only there to die-even in a comedy.

To be honest when I saw the film I had forgotten that it was supposed to be a horror comedy and I watched it straight on taking it as if I walked in not knowing what I was seeing. I kind of picked up that the film was kind of less than serious as it went on, but at the same time I never laughed nor was tense. When the film ended I read on the film and how it was a send up so I went back and rewatched (some of) it knowing it was a send up. Sadly it still didn't work the way it was intended.

Looking like a one of the TV productions the film is spoofing this film is waste of time- its not bad-its just not good enough to lose 85 minutes of your life to see it- which makes it the worst kind of film a time waster.This film is neither good enough nor bad enough for you to get anything out of it. You won't hate it to the point you can complain about this awful film nor is it good enough to make you feel like you spent your time seeing a story you really wanted to see. Mostly you're going to be left wondering why you bothered and how you can get that time back before consigning the film to the things to be forgotten part of your brain.

THEY'RE WATCHING hits theaters and VOD today and should be avoided

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