Watch Over Us
Watch Over Us review
Making a deal with the Devil shouldn’t be taken lightly, especially when it comes to family matters and being a “man”. Watch Over Us is an independent horror film from director F.C. Rabbath, which looks at the deadly breakdown of a family from both domestic and demonic forces.
After separating from his wife, Jon (Daniel Link) and his daughters have no other place to reside than his father’s isolated farm house. When his two daughters become increasingly disturbed by the strange noises they hear in the house, and the eerie presence lurking in the barn, it’s time for Jon to call in a Priest to investigate. It soon becomes apparent that there is a family secret hidden beneath the wood work.
Watch Over Us is described as The Exorcist meets Stranger Things, therefore I had fairly high hopes for this micro-budget independent movie in terms of writing style and storyline. As a supporter of indie film, I wholeheartedly try to make sure I take everything into appreciation when reviewing one of these films, and there have been multiple times that I’ve found a hidden gem lurking within this realm. Unfortunately, Watch Over Us offers nothing new to the genre and falters in making a film that really exhibits how micro-budget film can be done well.
Firstly, the audience is presented with a protagonist who is an absolute douchebag. Following him on his day-to-day activities from the beginning of the film was painfully tedious, purely because I disliked him so much. He has no ambition and drive to find a job, even though his family are bleeding dry his old, dying father. He’s an inattentive and ignorant father, who doesn’t seem to care much for his daughters well-beings, even though they are clearly terrified. Finally, he is a pig of a man – going on dates with down-to-earth women only to spend the first five minutes of the meeting looking at women who are closer to his daughters ages than his own. There are films that give the audience a nasty piece of work as a protagonist, but there’s usually a more defined reason which means we can accept this.
There wasn’t anything particularly frightening about the film in general; for the first act we hear some strange noises in the house, but that’s the basis for every paranormal or demonic horror movie ever made. What is most disappointing is that the concept is there, but Rabbath fails to execute it well. The concept of never seeing the demonic spirit is one that I think would succeed well, and is perfect for maintaining a low budget. The voices that are heard in the barn hold reminiscence to many demonic horror films that play on the aspect that the Devil plays games and often uses his victims own voices to taunt them. Watch Over Us applies this concept, but somehow doesn’t quite manage to really make the audience feel the scare, which is mainly due to the characters never fully succumbing to that fear.
The daughters in this film are probably the best thing about it; they are clearly up and coming actresses, who given the right role will be able to gradually make a name for themselves. Although they try their hardest in this piece, and definitely nail the bickering bond between sisters, they really aren’t given much room to develop their characters to give the audience something to shout about. Once we near the end of the film, there are some scenes that I really enjoyed, including an entire SWAT team bolting from the barn as they’re all too pussy to take on the monster that lives inside. What I realised from that point (with about 7 minutes to go until the film finished), was that this film should have focused solely on the comedy aspect rather than trying to be scary, when it just wasn’t.
If you’re like me and always willing to give an indie movie a shot, purely for the sake of supporting someone else’s dream, then give this a watch. However, I would advise you go into this with the impression it’s going to be a comedy horror, rather than anything similar to The Exorcist or Stranger Things, otherwise you’ll come away just as disappointed as I did.
Verdict: 2 out of 5