Blu-ray/DVD Review: KEEP WATCHING (2017)

KEEP WATCHING is the feature length debut from director Sean Carter which uses the found footage genre to tell the story of a family being terrorized by an unknown intruder. The film, which was adapted from the screenplay by Joseph Dembner, stars Bella Thorne (Amityville: The Awakening), Chandler Riggs (“The Walking Dead”), Natalie Martinez (End of Watch), Leigh Whannell (SAW), and Ioan Gruffudd (Fantastic Four franchise).

Found footage is a genre that people seem to love or hate. If you were to ask me where I stand, I would say I’m 80% a fan of found footage – when done right. I have my favorites like Cloverfield and Paranormal Activity, and I’m always interested when a new film in that subgenre is announced. Such was the case with KEEP WATCHING. I found myself intrigued with the movie mostly because of the set up. An intruder who has been following a family for an undetermined length of time sets up cameras all throughout their house for the entertainment of “others”, while also giving the victims the opportunity to fight back. It’s that whole “kill or be killed” mentality.

I wish I could say that I came out of this viewing with a positive review, but alas that is not the case. Even with a somewhat strong cast, I felt that this film missed out on an opportunity to be better than what it was. With found footage movies, there are moments when the viewer has to suspend beliefs, but I found myself becoming irritated with the amount of times I had to do that. For the film to work as a true found footage movie and/or hidden camera film it should come across as believable as possible, but in the case of KEEP WATCHING, the intruder would have literally needed to stick a camera in every single spot in the house for it to work. Not only is that unbelievable, but how did the intruder know the family was going to specifically hide behind their fish aquarium? Or under that one table in the basement?

As for the acting, I would say it was middle of the road. Having just watched Bella Thorne in Amityville: The Awakening, I was hoping that her talent would shine through in KEEP WATCHING, but it felt about the same as her previous film. Once I realized Chandler Riggs was in the film I had hopes he would take the film by the reigns and showcase his acting chops, but alas, I was wrong again. If anything his acting seemed amateur at best, which is unlike the talent he showcases on “The Walking Dead”. The only saving grace was Leigh Whannell who makes a surprise appearance as the goofy, pot smoking Uncle. Seeing Leigh Whannell in a film automatically puts a smile on my face, even if said film falls flat in every other way.

The concept behind KEEP WATCHING is evident in the first five minutes of the film – humans love violence, when its not being inflicted upon them. The best example of that is ex-YouTube star, Paul Logan, who posted a video of a suicide victim to his YouTube channel. He got millions of hits with that video, and though it’s since been taken down (thank God as it should have never been filmed to begin with), people are still talking about it. KEEP WATCHING takes that idea (minus the suicide victim) and runs with it, taking inspiration from such horror films as SAW and The Strangers. It’s definitely an interesting concept, our morbid fascination with violence and death, and had the film been better executed I think it could have been a quality movie and really driven home a substantial message.

Overall, I didn’t completely hate KEEP WATCHING. There were some good moments thrown in there, but in the end, it’s a horror film that’s easily forgettable.

KEEP WATCHING is available to own on DVD from Sony Pictures Home Entertainment

Shannon McGrew
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