'They're Watching' subjects reality TV to horror genre

  • A reality TV series crew takes refuge in a farmhouse while locals surround the place in the horror tale "They're Watching."

    A reality TV series crew takes refuge in a farmhouse while locals surround the place in the horror tale "They're Watching."

  • Becky (Brigid Brannagh), right, worries while a reality TV series crew takes shelter in a farmhouse shed in the horror film "They"re Watching."

    Becky (Brigid Brannagh), right, worries while a reality TV series crew takes shelter in a farmhouse shed in the horror film "They"re Watching."

 
 
Posted3/24/2016 5:00 AM

Here comes one weird, cracked-out, trippy horror tale that kicks into high screams at the 62-minute mark.

Then, it goes from being a slow-fuse parody of the reality TV series "House Hunters International" into total supernatural chaos, exploding with cheesy visual effects that actually work better for this story than ILM's more polished stuff could.

 

It's only too bad that co-directors Micah Wright and Jay Lender lacked the confidence to let their story tell itself, instead of ruining two surprises for us by previewing the ending in which blonde Sarah (Mia Faith) gets an ax in the face from a local constable who's supposed to be a friendly, helpful guy.

Days earlier, we pick up Sarah, Greg (David Alpay) and Alex (Kris Lemche) as they travel to a rustic rural farmhouse in the eastern European nation of Moldova. (Actually, it was filmed in Romania.)

The crew of the "Home Hunters Global" show hook up with their sour boss Kate (Carrie Genzel) to shoot the impressively refurbished farmhouse of its winsome American owner, Becky (Brigid Brannagh).

Soon enough, Wright and Lender start tightening the dramatic noose as the xenophobic locals pick up axes outside and the crew of smug, condescending Americans finds a strange witch-burning mural on a wall in the basement.

Wright and Lender have written and/or designed more than 50 video games ("Call of Duty," "Transformers"), written six graphic novels ("Duster" anyone?), composed songs for, written and/or directed shows such as "SpongeBob SquarePants" and "Angry Beavers," plus won awards for creating virtual reality projects for Samsung.

In the last 10 minutes of "They're Watching" -- a populist version of Robert Eggers' art house horror opus "The Witch" -- they throw in everything plus the kitchen sink from "Evil Dead."

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