The Watchers (2010) – By Matt Barry

The Watchers is an intense, psychological thriller from director Sy Cody White. In its 28-minute running time, it manages to pack in a complex, richly-layered series of incidents that may or may not be the product of the paranoid mind of its lead character.

“Have you ever felt like you were being followed?” This question sets the tone of The Watchers and immediately draws the viewer into the mind of its lead character.

John Porter (Jeff Moffitt) is an accountant working on Wall Street. As the film opens, he is desperately trying to get in touch with a woman named Marcie, to make sure that she is alright. His increasingly frantic phone calls form the structure of this film. John is convinced he is being watched by strangers he encounters in the streets of New York. One such encounter begins innocently enough, after a stranger stops to help John pick up some papers that have been knocked from his hand. As the man helps him pick the papers up, he tells John his day could always be worse: “You could be dead.” The moment quickly turns sinister, setting the tone for events to follow. John is under terrible pressure at work because of the stress he is going through, and that night at his apartment, encounters another stranger whom he pursues into the cellar of his building. Convinced more than ever that people are out get him, he seeks the help of a therapist, Dr. Orwell (Timothy J. Cox), but when a terrible accident cuts of John’s one source of support, he retreats further into his paranoia until he finally realizes that his fears might be justified after all…

Director White does an excellent job at building the tension and suspense as the film progresses. The often-familiar New York locations are used creatively to appear overwhelming and full of uncertainty, perfectly suited to the state of mind of the lead character. The film’s editing uses jump-cuts during several moments to enhance the paranoid and anxious tone. The sound design is particularly effective in this regard, creating unsettling moments with sharp and ominous tones. The film was co-written by White and lead actor Moffitt, and the script makes good use of minimal dialog to tell its story.

The Watchers is released by Two Man Crew Productions. More information on the film is available through the official website: http://twomancrewproductions.weebly.com