Watch Over Us (2016) – By Misty Layne

 

You’d think people would’ve learned by now not to make deals with the devil – wicked mad instrumental skills, riches, and fame don’t really amount to much when you’re dead. It’s not like there haven’t been a ton of movies that show what happens when you dance with the devil in the pale moonlight. Now, we get to add Watch Over Us to that pile (and a fine addition it makes!).

Something is a little off in the Randall household. No one’s quite sure what’s going on (well, gramps knows but that’s a secret for now – shhhh!); they just know they keep hearing loud noises and the house keeps rattling. Jon and his daughters, Eliza and Becca, have been living with Grandpa so Jon can take care of gramps, but needless to say by this point the two girls want OUT of this living arrangement. But Jon’s been out of work for 5 years and is having trouble getting back into the workforce…and trouble finding dates…and is just kinda sucking with everything, to be honest. So he says, “No way!”. This all leads to a secret in a barn, a deal to be made, and an unfortunate turn of events for the family (namely Jon. Poor Jon).

I REALLY enjoyed Watch Over Us. It looked fabulous – color was perfect; shots were set up wonderfully (and it was set out in the woods so it was beautiful). Eliza (Avery Kristen Pohl) and Becca (Elly Schaefer) kick ass and I love them. Their father is pretty much a useless waste of space (harsh but true), so they try to take care of shit themselves. You rock, Eliza & Becca! (And Avery & Elly – you guys were my favorite part of this film!) Daniel Link did a wonderful job as Jon – he just didn’t really have a lot to work with, was the issue. He kind of just said the same things over and over (a couple of characters did this actually), so I didn’t know if this was some satiric commentary on the idiocy of horror film characters or if the guy really, really was that useless.

Because that was the only real problem here – the script and dialogue. Watch Over Us starts out strong and sets things up nicely, but dissolves into a bit of silly by the end. I’m not sure exactly where the turning point was but I had several questions: 1) Does the house have some kind of hold over everybody? Even after discovering what’s in the barn, people STILL don’t want to leave right away, which is ridiculous. 2) What was the point of having the character of the brother? That character added nothing to the film. Take him out and nothing about the story has changed – he was just filler. 3) Becca is clearly the smartest person in this film. Why didn’t she just knock her sister out somehow, and kidnap her to get her away from the house? (No, seriously, I totally see her doing this). 4) Okay, not a question but – yes, the scene with the police/military was cute, but yes, also totes unrealistic (and considering everything else in the film was on this side of realism, that made it seem very out of place). 5) The woman in the barn – she had to be naked? Oh right, of course she did, because it was so integral to the story and all. Guys, c’mon, breasts do not a successful movie make.

Overall, Watch Over Us is a delightful entry into the “deal with the devil” genre. It starts to build tension quite well, but ultimately fails in its task with the introduction of such scenes as the military coming around and the naked woman in the barn, and with a breakdown of script and dialogue near the end, that results in a predictable ending that’s a bit of a letdown. Still, it’s highly fun. I say watch it, if only for the actresses playing the daughters, because they’re amazing.

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