Parker isn’t exactly a rip-off artist but elements of his work come perilously close to being derivative. Parker’s fun referential slasher The Hills Run Red lifts font from Aja’s The Hills Have Eyes remake, whilst It Watches cashes in on It Follows’ clicks and even borrows the font from Stephen King’s IT. These are odd observations, but Parker’s work straddles a difficult line between originality and confusingly orchestrated re-tread. The smart moves are too few and the dopey mechanics are too prevalent. Basically, there’s not enough cool fresh-faced stuff in amongst his borrowing.
But there’s something good in here. The house in It Watches is a great location; a sprawling valley house painted in greyscale, it’s a really eerie modern setting populated with some nifty but entirely terrifying ‘modern art’. The subtlety of most of the scares is a credit to Parker’s control of mood; he distracts us with a dim jock of a main character then lets the house do its work. When the film ditches its creeping mood for bland spooks and character stupidity, it loses its head a bit.
Parker either came up with the ending off-the-cuff or tried far too hard to hide the twist. The result is a disappointingly fumbled surprise which had great potential. It’s almost as though Parker was so focused on keeping the twist under wraps that he forgot it has to make sense. It’s a shame because there’s more than enough good ideas and scares here to merit a viewing, you’ll just wish it was a more complete flick.
To conclude, It Watches isn’t the camp, ditsy, referential joy The Hills Run Red was, but neither is it a waste of film; Parker manages to maintain a good balance of intrigue and scares, but the messiness of the editing and the confusing finale leave it an eventually-irritating escapade.
IT WATCHES / CERT: TBC / DIRECTOR: DAVE PARKER / SCREENPLAY: DAVE PARKER, IVAN DJUROVIC / STARRING: IVAN DJUROVIC, RICKIRWIN, SANNY VAN HETEREN, JAMES DUVAL / RELEASE DATE: TBC