Saturday, October 13, 2007

Someone's Watching Me

This was a bit interesting: coming out the same year as his big smash hit Halloween, Carpenter also made this TV thriller about a woman being stalked by someone who seems almost omnipresent in her life. It’s a bit of a precursor to When a Stranger Calls, I guess.

Unlike When a Stranger Calls, which opened with its scariest moments, though, this one’s more of a slow build. When the stalker, who seems to live in the high rise apartment across from our heroine, begins to call her and leave her notes, it’s done more like a creepy stalker than a deranged killer. Later on, when things start escalating, and she tries to bring the fight to him, only for him to take it as a sign to really kick things up a notch, it really starts getting creepy. While the screenplay has its problems (really, I don’t care who the stalker is, unless he’s got an Impossible Missions Force backing him up there’s no way he could do everything that he does in this film), it’s well paced enough that you’re not really asking too many questions until it’s over.

What’s always nice to see is just how good of a director Carpenter was back in the day, and how great at slowly piling on the tension he was. He hasn’t really made a truly worthwhile film in at least a decade (some would say even longer), so it was good to be able to see one from his glory days that I had never seen before (indeed, had never heard of before the Twisted Terror Collection came out). If anything, I think the fact that this was a TV movie and couldn’t have any sex or graphic violence in it only helped it, as it ensured Carpenter would be forced to focus on dramatic tension without the benefit of the normal thriller lifelines. It’s not his best movie from this time period, but it’s still worth checking out.

Rating: ***

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