They're Watching Review
The opening scene was fantastic. Marketed as a horror comedy, the movie opens up with an HGTV reality show parody that is a perfect and hilarious satire of conventional HGTV programming. It set the tone for what appeared to be a dark comedy, but what would eventually spindle into one of those heavily segmented horror films that doesn't ever blend genres, but merely juggles them back and forth.
While touted as a horror comedy, the film plays out more like the Grave Encounters found footage films that kick off with the comedy and then gradually flow into horror. While the first Grave Encounters' approach was a surprisingly effective hook, the downside to this method is that it establishes a personality for the film that later disappoints when it isn't consistent throughout the runtime. A good hook is a great attribute for any film to aspire to, but the rest of the film needs to keep you hooked, and unless the horror is enough to compensate for the drop in humor, it's not worth it. In this case, the lack of effective horror elements makes you desperate for the return of the Best in Show-esque HGTV satire.
Found footage films are tricky. If you aren't careful, all of the realism that comes along with the genre is lost when camera placement and character interaction with the camera ceases to make any sense. The film begins to break down in this regard and derails towards the end, with unrealistic camera placement and movements. It's hard to justify a perfectly steady camera when all Hell is breaking loose.
But all Hell does break loose. While the effects were weak to average throughout the climax, the sheer amount of chaos was something to behold. I won't go into detail here, but it was a better treatment and all-out blitz of [low quality] visuals than most low-budget films dare deliver.
The Afghanistan side story felt forced and unnecessary. When it was hinted at early on and then eventually explained, it was obvious this didn't further the plot at all and managed to only minutely flirt with the character development of one protagonist. It did give us an excuse to get the obligatory love scene between two characters, but the whole thing felt so drab and compulsory that you can't wait for the film to move on so you can get back to the actual story, which wasn't exactly top shelf to begin with.
Horror Qualifier: 7/10
Horror Quality: 5/10
Film Quality: 3/10