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Watch Me (2006)

DVD Cover (Midnight Releasing)
Horror, Supernatural Horror
Melanie Ansley Melanie Ansley
Celeste Barry Celeste Barry
Glen Hancox Glen Hancox
George Ivanoff George Ivanoff
Katrina J. Kiely Katrina J. Kiely
Thomas Lim Thomas Lim

6.1 / 10 - 2 votes

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Review by Chad
Added: November 07, 2006
Everyday when I check my email, there's a good sixty-seventy messages sitting in my spam folder as well as an additional ten-fifteen that managed to bypass my filters. That's a lot of junk mail, let me tell you. However, after watching this movie, I can safely say that I feel a little bit better about the Viagra and penis enlargement offers (how did they know?) that plague my account. Why? Well, with normal spam, I can simply click the delete button and carry on with my day - but reading the spam in this movie manages to kill the viewer.

It's a little more complex than that, of course. This particular spam message contains a video attachment called "Watch Me", which turns out to be a snuff video featuring a creepy redheaded woman in a yellow dress. When you watch her die in the video, she appears in your room or house and kills you before sewing your eyes shut... and then the spam message is forwarded to everyone in your address book, an act which causes the "curse" to spread further and further throughout the country.

Tess Hooper (Frances Marrington) is the latest recipient of this email, and after realizing that everyone around her is dying off after receiving bizarre emails, she puts the pieces together and wisely chooses not to view the attachment. However, she does want to find out what happened to her friends, so she goes to an obscure film / pornography dealer named Taku (Sam Voutas) who may know about the origins of this video. He agrees to help her and the two set out to unravel the mystery, but Taku may have ulterior motives when it comes to this video - in fact, he may even be more dangerous to Tess than the ghostly figure from the video itself.

Mixing together elements of Ringu and One Missed Call, Watch Me features some familiar moments for fans of either movie but ultimately turns out to be an enjoyable film with enough original elements to hold your interest. It quickly becomes apparent that director Melanie Ansley is heavily influenced by Asian cinema, and the end result is a film that feels like a hybrid of East and West. This is due to the mixture of imaginative shots and a storyline that slowly unravels, much like Asian films are well known for, but unlike said films, this one gets straight to the point and never strays away from it. There's some spooky shit going on, and the star of the film wants to figure out the hows and the whys before it's too late. As much as I love Asian cinema, sometimes it's nice to see a film that simply gets from point A to point B without straying off to every other letter of the alphabet along the way, and the fact that this one features an intelligent script and still accomplishes that feat makes it all the better.

As mentioned, there are quite a few interesting shots and scenes to be found throughout the running time. This is the debut feature-length film from Ansley, but it really seems as though the young lady has had much more experience than what is mentioned in the modest biography featured on her site. Although it usually takes a good director two or three films to really find their stride, she has hit the ground running with her debut, and some of the great sequences found within this movie prove that she definitely has a future in "the biz." Take, for example, the "bathtub" scene in which Tess settles in for a nice, hot bath and decides to put a washrag over her eyes to help relax... obscuring the fact that the ghost is right beside her (a screenshot of which can be found on the official site). Yeah, it'd be a bit disturbing to encounter a ghost in a haunted house during an ominous thunderstorm, but encountering one during a mundane, everyday situation such as taking a bath would be just a wee bit worse for yours truly and ultimately feels more realistic for the home audience. This is just one of the scenes that I enjoyed in this movie, and there are many similar ones to be found as it moves along.

Fans of intelligent horror that don't require a dozen "jump" scares or a double-digit body count would be well advised to keep an eye on the official site for future festival screenings and the eventual DVD release. It may have taken some obvious inspirations from other films, but let me assure you that it easily stands its own against Ringu when it comes to delivering some genuine scares. 8/10.
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