Keep Watching sees a family terrorized by a group of strangers. Adding to the intensity, their every move is being streamed for a live audience. The only rule: Kill or be killed.
The film stars Bella Thorne (Amityville: The Awakening), Chandler Riggs (The Walking Dead), Natalie Martinez (End of Watch) and Ioan Gruffudd (Fantastic Four). First time feature film director Sean Carter was at the helm, with first time screenwriter Joseph Dembner penning the script.
I almost don’t know where to start here. Keep Watching is one of the most poorly put together films I’ve seen in some time. It clearly takes inspiration from Bryan Bertino’s past works, with certain similarities to Mockingbird and The Strangers. Unfortunately, director Sean Carter has none of the cinematic prowess of Bertino and the end result is flat, dull, and almost unbearable to sit through.
One of the biggest problems with Keep Watching is that none of the characters are relatable. They are all two-dimensional and underdeveloped. Bella Thorne’s Jamie is the closest there is to a likable character. But even Jamie is difficult to warm up to. The small amount of backstory we get on her isn’t enough to win the audience over and we have even less reason to identify with the other members of her family.
There aren’t any truly terrible performances, but the showings from the core cast are serviceable at best. It feels a lot like everyone was phoning it in and just trying to get through the shoot.
The effects are particularly lackluster for a film that has very little else going for it. Sometimes, a shoddy feature can be salvaged (to some extent) by great FX work. Unfortunately, that is not the case here. There is virtually no bloodshed and the kills are incredibly tame, which is surprising, considering that Keep Watching was marketed as a horror film.
My final gripe pertains to the camerawork and editing. There are so many jump cuts that it’s almost impossible to focus on the action. Moreover, a lot of the camera angles and shots are unrealistic and didn’t make sense coming from the vantage points at which the cameras were supposed to be mounted. The microwave camera was completely unrealistic in the way it was presented, as were many of the other shots throughout the feature. Multiple times, I was taken out of the film and found myself wondering how a particular shot was even feasible.
I would strongly suggest steering clear of this one. It has nearly no redeeming qualities and there are so many superior home invasion films that are far more deserving of your time and attention. Keep Watching is now available on DVD from Sony Pictures Home Entertainment.
WICKED RATING: 2/10
Director(s): Sean Carter
Writer(s): Joseph Dembner
Stars: Bella Thorne, Chandler Riggs, Natalie Martinez, and Ioan Gruffudd
Release: February 6, 2018 (DVD)
Studio/ Production Co: SPHE
Budget: $5 Million (estimated)
Sub-Genre: Home Invasion