When Tess Hooper, a cinema studies student, comes into contact with a piece of e-mail spam titled “Watch Me”, she becomes embroiled in a series of mysterious cult killings. She has direct ties to the latest victim of an email-borne threat which releases an apparition into the real world. Those who watch the contents of the email are soon visited by a redheaded murderess, who kills them and sews their eyes shut.
Following the death of her best friend, Tess (Harrington) is forced to team up with the sleazy Taku (Voutas). He’s an underground porno dealer who creeps Tess out from frame one. Soon, they must work hand in hand to try and solve, and survive, the mystery of the “Watch Me” message.
After Jill’s death, Tess meets with the good cop/bad cop duo of Rigby and Sanders. Sanders (Hancox) is the gentler of the two, allowing Tess an outlet to relate to, while Rigby (Barry) is hard-nosed and short-tempered. The pair has been following the mysterious case for a while, and hopes Tess may be their answer.
It’s when Tess and Taku are forced by circumstance to meet that the film takes a turn visually and in plot. Soon, viewers are able to witness circumstances which may have always puzzled them about other similar films. The “what if”s pondered by viewers are played out with an interesting twist.
The film takes a lot of its cues from the current wave of Asian horror, easily comparable to The Grudge and The Ring. The plot devices are similar of course, and so is the supernatural form. The killing redhead is pale and stiff, uses water as a means of transportation, and her motions and mannerisms are right out of Sadako’s Dance School 101.
Making those comparisons aren’t meant to belittle Watch Me. It’s an excellently self-sufficient film, shot with a human touch when necessary and a distorted sense during the murders. Ansley’s use of agonizingly slow motions and gels creates a feeling of tension enhanced by the light piano work or high-pitched electronics of the soundtrack. Viewers are constantly looking over the character’s shoulders, into mirrors, and behind opened doors for the inevitable shock.
Having viewed everything “Watch Me” is too easily compared to, I’d suggest the film runs closer to Ringu than The Ring, and even a bit of The Audition is evident as an influence. The only missing element is the ultimate showdown, and a feeling of closure, but the lack of such a wrapped-up ending leads to interesting questions about the victim’s ties to the means of transport, how she could be defeated, and the origin of the message itself.
Harrington is an ace on-camera, powerfully frightened, venomously angered or downright beat as the role demands. Voutas plays off of her well, milking every ounce of sleeze out of his role as Taku. Budget may be a factor in the overall film, but talent is certainly abundant throughout.
“Watch Me” is currently being promoted by Scopofile Productions out of Melbourne, Australia. The film is on the festival circuit, making appearances at the Atlanta Horror Film Festival and the Freak Show Horror Film Festival.