Friday, September 2, 2016
Blu-ray Review: OBSERVANCE (2015)
Directed by Joseph Sims-Dennett
Distributed by Artsploitation Films / CAV Distribution
I love coming across a movie to review that I know nothing about. Such was the case with OBSERVANCE, an eerie psychological thriller from first time director Joseph Sims-Dennett. I had not even heard of this film when it showed up in my mailbox for review. I like going into films without expecting anything. Before I get to whether I think it's a good movie or not, here's the basic plot from the Artsploitation website:
Atmospherically creepy and visually unnerving, Australia’s Joseph Sims-Dennett’s startling feature film debut follows Parker, a young man in the grip of grief following the death of his young son, his marriage on the rocks and nearing bankruptcy, but who reluctantly returns to work as a private investigator. His assignment it to observe a woman from an abandoned apartment, and as her watches bizarre happenings surrounding her, he slowly becomes aware that the derelict building he is in has a dark presence which slowly threatens to consume him. A frightening horror tale of a man spiraling into madness and reminiscent of Roman Polanski’s THE TENANT, Hitchcock’s REAR WINDOW, and the works of David Cronenberg and David Lynch.
Ok...now that's a lot of fancy names to be throwing around there. Davd Cronenberg, David Lynch, Polanski, and Hitchcock? Ok, let's not get ahead of ourselves here. I say that jokingly, as I know what they mean in terms of the film being similar to the works of those directors, I just wouldn't put this film up in the ranks of their work. The film is good, don't get me wrong, but it wasn't great which is what I consider the works of those directors mentioned above.
I'm really on the fence with this one....it got critical acclaim from the film fests that it showed at, so lots of people really like it. I thought it was just ok. It had some great scenes for sure, my favorite being when Parker goes into the woman's home to plant the microphones and she comes home, trapping him in the house trying to find a way out without her seeing him. This was a very tense part of the film and one I found most enjoyable.
The apartment he was watching the woman from is very creepy, and seems to start to affect him personally, from bodily wounds randomly showing up, to him puking a dark black bile like substance. But, for all these great scenes, there are also some very slow lagging times in the film where it feels like not much is happening. Also, I would have like to have known why he was hired to watch this woman to begin with....who is she and what is so special about her? Maybe that's just supposed to be part of the mystery of this film.
In terms of technical aspects, the movie is shot very well with some beautiful scenes, and I also noticed the sound, which I tend not to notice in a lot of films. The cinematographer and sound editors did a remarkable job for sure.
As always, I urge you to check out the film and decide for yourself, some of you will really like this one I'm sure. As for me, I might give it a watch again in the future to see if I get more enjoyment out of it the 2nd time.
OBSERVANCE is available now on DVD and Blu-ray and contains the following special features:
* "A Preface to Observance" (3-minute featurette)
* Artsploitation Film Trailers
CLICK HERE to watch the trailer
CLICK HERE to purchase the DVD or Blu-ray