Directed by: Sy Cody White Starring: Jeff Moffitt, Timothy J. Cox, Peter Francis Span and Kathleen Boddington Short Film Review by: Rachel Pullen
Don’t you hate that feeling you get when you feel like you’re being watched, that cold spine tingle, the walls closing in on you, that gut wrenching paranoia? And then when you turn around …nothing, cool waves of relief wash over you as you slip back into the dull everyday routine you call your life, and you forget all about it.
Well what if that feeling never ended, what if there was no cooling sense of relief, what if you really were being watched…
“I have seen it all before” I hear you scream, and yes to an extent that’s true, the stalker idea is present in so many features, be it from the European masterpiece Them, to The Game to When a Stranger Calls, so what is going to make Sy Cody White’s short film The Watchers any different?
We delve into the world of John, a 30-something businessman, going about his life in the bustling city of New York, yet from the get go we can tell this dude is unhinged, and not just the way normal people would be unhinged working in a high rise in a huge city, but unhinged in the way that he must line all his condiments up perfectly and iron his banknotes so there are no creases…creases let the evil thoughts in.
But aside from the neatness and condiment arranging, John has time to fall into a world of terrifying paranoia, where at every turn he is harassed by people he refers to as The Watchers. His attempts to correct his mind are worthless, a therapist who dismisses his paranoia, a wife who never picks up the phone, a suit that he never seems to change, John is not having a good day it seems.
This short is clearly on a budget, but the choice to shoot in New York is a smart one. The landscape in itself provides enough to stimulate the viewer as well as creating a bustling backdrop requires no extras or sound engineering, it’s all right there, camera action itself is of a good quality, we can see the direction that White is trying to take, action spliced with psychological thriller feels ooze through despite the tight purse strings.
Jeff Moffitt, who plays our leading man John, tackles the role with a real energy, and despite it not being the most flawless performance you can’t deny that he went in there and gave the role the old college try, and the level of involvement and empathy that you feel for his suffering speaks volumes to the abilities that he possesses.
The Watchers is a fun and enjoyable short, with a compelling story, interesting landscapes and competent camerawork to the point where you soon overlook its flaws and it’s small budget, becoming immersed in a world of shadows lurking and strangers watching.