Who wants to play a sick game? The rules are simple: Kill or be killed.
Anyone’s first thought would be, “Oh, the ‘kill’ in the rules means defending yourself from your attackers. Yup, I’d rather kill them than have them kill me.”
Turns out, the rules have an equivocation that is revealed at the end.
‘Kill’ here means kill for the attackers. Join in their twisted little game to intrude and kill innocent people. Or be killed instantly but not before watching your loved ones die.
The movie takes a lot of time establishing the thriller element. We are introduced to a family where the teenage girl is bratty. My first thought – Why is it that Bella Thorne plays the same characters? She could easily have been Belle from Amityville: The Awakening. She plays the same character in that as well- somber, goth, snobby, doesn’t get along with her mother or stepmother in the case of Keep Watching.
Putting that little annoyance aside, then there is the son who has inappropriate feelings for his stepmother. The stepmother seems oblivious to it all and tries to bond with the bratty kids.
And then there’s the uncle who has a two-bit role. He enters, becomes the first victim and has another appearance toward the end.
While the family is away, a gang of twisted people set up cameras all around the home. Apparently, they are interested in the teenage girl and have cameras set up in her school locker, too.
When the incident occurs, the father is the next to go and it is up to the stepmother to protect the kids. The intruders leave “gifts” for them to find which are weapons to defend themselves with. The windows are blocked, the doors locked and there is a drone to keep a watch on the perimeter.
I found myself thinking, once again, that why don’t people get it by now? Always, always buy houses that have a decent neighborhood. Based on horror movies, criminals always seem to attack houses in isolated areas.
Okay, point taken. No more dreaming of cabins near the lake or in the woods. No more peace and quiet away from the world. In fact, houses should be built around police stations!
Back to the story, since the family has no neighbors, there is no one to hear their screams. Their phones don’t work and they don’t even bother with the laptops. That’s the thing with technology-- It always fails in horror movies. Always.
The stepmother is the next one to go. That leaves brother and sister, reminding me once again of Amityville: The Awakening. The ending was too familiar. The daughter finally kills one of the attackers and when she removes the mask, it is revealed to be the missing girl from the first scene in the movie.
It is at that point that we are hinted to the true motives of the intruders. The girl too had been given no choice but to join the twisted gang if she wanted to live. In the end, the same choice is given to the teenage daughter and she is shown a clip of their next target- another family.
It is assumed that she joins the gang. Survival first!
The movie was nowhere as intense as You’re next or Jackals or even Better Watch Out. There were no edge of the seat moments though the true meaning of “kill” revealed in the climax does emit a whimper of surprise.
The fault lies in the screen time given to the unnecessary drama of the stepmother trying to establish and insert herself in the family. She was shown to be insecure of taking another woman’s place. Will her stepchildren accept and remember her sacrifices? Probably not. The kids seemed too self-involved.
The movie tries to be a family drama slash horror and just manages to be an okay thriller. The makers probably realized this and came up with this title, intending to beseech to its viewers: Keep Watching (please).
Scary scale: 2/5