The Watcher is the latest in a long strand of serial killer movies, and it is obvious that the makers of this film don't know what works.
Is it really that hard to make a serial killer movie? You have a good cop who will go to any lengths to catch his man, and you have a killer who is so suave and insane that it is so fun to love to hate him. Throw in a couple of creepy murder scenes, some deductive reasoning, and maybe turn the serial killings into a game, and you have yourself a good movie. Right?
The Watcher doesn't stop there. The good cop is a retired bum who has horrid flashbacks and calms himself by injecting medicine into his side. So, what we get is a lot of unnecessary back story to the cop, as the director shows us many relentless and stupid flashbacks filmed in jerky slow motion, as if we really want to see a third of the movie in a strobe light. If you're going to have flashbacks, have them in black and white!
The direction was my main grievance with the film. The Watcher, though quite unoriginal, kept my attention in check, and there are some suspenseful scenes. Unfortunately, the direction is so sloppy and amateur that it is hard to enjoy the movie. Maybe Charbanic realized that he didn't have that great of a movie to begin with, so he spruced it up with a lot of so-called 'artistic' shots, which serve as nothing but ugliness on the big or small screen.
As far as acting goes, it is decent. I like Keanu Reeves, but more as an action hero. He's the serial killer in this picture, and while he does have a certain charm about him, he just doesn't make me that interested in his character. I also like James Spader (Stargate, one of my favorite movies), but as seen in Supernova, he might not be the best candidate for the hero role. Maybe The Watcher should have tried reversing its leads.
The movie itself is sort of dumb. Like I said, it kept my attention, but looking back on it, there really are not that many developments that take place in the film. The killer sends the cop a photo of his next victim a day before he kills the woman, but the strongest thinking the police officers do is post pictures all over the city in hopes that someone will recognize her. There's not much thinking there, and it's not that interesting.
Furthermore, the ending is not that great; although, I can think of worse endings.
The Watcher is mildly enjoyable, but when you take into account the fact that the direction sucks, the plot sucks, and the acting isn't anything to get worked up about, it really isn't worth your time.
Review by Erik Samdahl unless otherwise indicated.
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