Plot: Cassie (Clea DuVall) is a psychology student with dreams of helping children cope with traumatic events, a field that has an intense, personal connection to her, as she was abducted as a child. That experience has haunted her ever since, even as an adult she will sometimes panic and have hallucinations, causing her immense anxiety and doubts about her future. But she is determined to conquer her fears, if only to ensure that she can guide others to do the same. To that end, she has accepted a job working at a remote firewatch station, where she will be alone and isolated for one month. This is well beyond her comfort zone, but she knows if anything will help her calm the fear and move on, this could be it. So she ventures deep into the woods and prepares for the month of isolation, but she soon experiences some odd things, such as strange noises, seeing someone in the trees, and a general feeling of unease. A fellow watch guard is able to calm her down over the radio, but when Cassie discovers the girl she talked to has been dead for years, things begin to spiral into a tailspin. Can Cassie last the month in the woods or will her fears overtake her once again?
Entertainment Value: This was a Lifetime movie, but it veers out of the usual conventions for the network and plays more like a traditional psychological thriller with some horror elements mixed in. The premise is a solid one, though it does unravel as it closes in on the finale. I did appreciate the eventual conclusion however, as I do love cheap horror end sequences, after all. I think The Watch is best described as a chick flick horror movie, as it has that horror texture, but still feels like a chick flick and walks that line well. So if you’re a horror fan looking for ways to convert non-believers to our beloved genre, perhaps this is a suitable first step. The mood and atmosphere are good once we’re at the firewatch tower, where the isolation can really ratchet up the tension and keep things on edge. The whole Polly subplot might seem out of place, but is a fun part of the movie and gives it that horror element, so I appreciated that. Clea DuVall is the lead and she carries most of the movie herself, in a more than capable overall performance. In truth, her presence elevates the material a lot, so without her, I don’t think the movie is even nearly as effective. In the end, this is still a Lifetime movie, so don’t expect intense scares or bloodshed, but for a made for television thriller, The Watch is better than expected.
No nakedness. No blood. This is a made for tv movie shown on Lifetime, so the lack of sleaze and gore is expected and is never a problem. The dialogue is solid, but doesn’t pop in much as far as memorable lines. A little girl talk, some psycho-babble, and creepy walkie talkie conversations, but not enough to make much of an impression. But again, that’s not to say the writing is terrible, it just doesn’t deliver on the wild or memorable lines front. This one has a little more horror than expected, which adds some craziness, but overall, this one is pretty standard stuff. The twists are predictable, but well executed at least and I loved the horror inspired final moments. So maybe one point for the horror spin at the end, but otherwise, not much out of the ordinary happens.