Horror Short: The Watchers (2010)
Here’s a nice, solid little short that once again proves you don’t need a huge budget to pull off a satisfying film. In THE WATCHERS director Sy Cody White gives us a well paced short about a man finding himself being followed and “watched” almost everywhere he goes.
John Porter (played by Jeff Moffitt) leads a nice ordered life until he begins to suspect that he’s constantly being followed and watched everywhere he goes. Not one to be over paranoid (or is he?), John wants to get to the bottom of who these “watchers” are and why they’re following him. Right off the bat I must say that THE WATCHERS isn’t really a horror short so much as it is a suspenseful thriller. But I’m writing a review of it for anythinghorror.com because I could also argue that Alfred Hitchcock wasn’t a “horror writer/director”. But can you think of any other director that can creep you out like Hitchcock? Well THE WATCHERS will completely remind you of a Hitchcockian film. Director White does a really fantastic job in his 30 minute short (give or take a few minutes) of creating a world of paranoia and doubt.
Actor Jeff Moffitt (who also starred in one of my favorite shorts of the year, ZOMBIE CHRONICLES: THE INFECTED) does a great job with the material. He plays the role of a man questioning his sanity and never goes over-the-top with his performance. You feel for Moffitt’s John Porter; he’s a man who likes his routine and who is suddenly thrust into a world where nothing and no one is as it seems. And people you better pay attention to the details in this one. I admit that I underestimated this one on my first viewing and when it got to the final act I had to go back and watch the entire short over again. And it was worth it. There are so many subtle clues as to what’s going on that you’ll easily miss them if you’re not paying attention.
The rest of the cast also do a great job. Timothy J. Cox plays Dr. Orwell (hhmmm; do ya think that’s a clue??); Peter Francis Span plays the “Mysterious Man”; and Kathleen Boddington plays one of the watchers. They all do great in their respective roles and all play pivotal roles in Porter’s life. Good stuff.
From the very first line in the film (“Have you ever felt like you were being followed?”) the tone is set for a tight thriller and White doesn’t disappoint or lose focus half way through the film. There’s no side plots or red herrings to distract us. White set out to direct a suspenseful thriller and he delivers in eery respect.
THE WATCHERS has been making the rounds on the festival circuit and has (rightly so) gotten noticed. As far as I know there’s no distribution planned for this one any time soon, but if all the people involved in the short decided to make this a feature film, I’d be the first one in line to see it. If you’re interested, you can learn more about THE WATCHERS by clicking here. In a current climate of crappy remakes and hastily cranked out Hollywood dreck, THE WATCHERS is a breath of fresh air that shows there are still filmmakers out there who can deliver a solid film (even if it is only 30 minutes). Look for this one; you won’t be disappointed.
Director: Sy Cody White (and co-writer, with Jeff Moffitt)
Plot: 4.5 out of 5 stars
Gore: 0 out of 10 skulls
Zombie Mayhem: 0 out of 5 brains
Reviewed by Scott Shoyer