Horror films centered on demons are a dime a dozen. The genre, much like zombies, has been done to death and there is very rarely an interesting take anymore. Recently I got the chance to check out the demonic horror film Watch Over Us. Was it more of the same or did it provide a fresh and interesting take on the subject?
Watch Over Us was written and directed by F.C. Rabbath. The film stars Avery Kristen Pohl, Ella Schaefer, Daniel Link, Bill Kelly, Mike Whaley, Henry Tisdale, and Hudson Meeks.
The film’s synopsis:
A family living with their grandpa find out that there’s more than meets the eyes in their family’s barn.
What I Liked
I liked the relationship between the daughters (Avery Kristen Pohl and Ella Schaefer) and their father (Daniel Link). It felt like an authentic family. I thought all three did a good job at their respective roles and were the only sympathetic characters in the whole film. There was a scene in the barn between a priest and the demon that I thought was pretty well done, and I really liked Mike Whaley’s portrayal of the priest (even if he was extremely underutilized). There wasn’t a whole lot of onscreen carnage, but there was a pretty well executed kill scene in the woods. There was a scene near the end of Watch Over Us that genuinely had me laughing hysterically (watch the film, it involves a SWAT team storming the barn). Not sure if this scene was supposed to come off as funny as it did, but I still give it credit for making me laugh.
What I Didn’t Like
While I enjoyed the relationships between the father and his daughters, they were still pretty underdeveloped. We are told the father left his job and hasn’t worked in years. I’m assuming this is due to his own father’s failing health, but this is barely touched upon. We know that the daughter’s mother isn’t around, but I’m pretty sure they never stated if they were divorced or if she was deceased. We get to know nothing about the daughters other than that they are terrified of what lurks in the barn and that they want to leave. The supporting characters are even less developed. The lead’s son and his grandpa show up and tensions raise, but overall. they are just flesh for the beast. The demon and the deal that was struck is all very ill defined. You expect me to believe a man sacrificed his daughter for money without explaining why it was needed? Not buying it. The demon is kept to a vocal only performance for most of the film, and once it shows its face, it doesn’t serve much of a purpose other than adding some welcome but unnecessary nudity. Watch Over Us tries to throw a final twist in at the end, which could have worked, but the character it involved has little development and was brought in too late, so it ultimately fell flat.
When I first saw the trailer for Watch Over Us, I was excited to check it out. After seeing the film, I can’t help but be disappointed. The characters and story were underdeveloped, the demon’s physical presence was nonexistent and there was only one on screen kill to speak of. The tone of the film varied wildly from scene to scene. Watch Over Us’ saving grace is the relationship between the father and his children that, while still underdeveloped, gives you something to care about. If you are the type of person who has to see every demonic horror film out there, then by all means, check this one out. For all others, if you enjoy microbudget cinema, can live with a demon film without a physical presence and don’t mind some intentional (or unintentional) comedy, than you could do far worse than Watch Over Us.