Julie (Eliza Taylor) and Marcus (Bob Morley) have a struggling marriage which was torn apart by the loss of a daughter. Suffering anxiety, Julie takes medication and has seen many doctors on how to best manage her condition.
Finding a new place to live, Marcus suggests they move away so that they can get a fresh start and although Julie is reluctant at first, she’s willing to give it a try. Marcus has also installed a virtual assistant called Hera which can help them around the house and keep them safe. However, when Marcus is called away for work, Hera starts acting up and the increasingly strange behaviour starts to play on Julie’s mind.
I’ll Be Watching is a psychological thriller which has themes that seem more relevant now than ever. The rise in artificial intelligence is nothing new to cinema, but the reality of that seems to be right around the corner and science fiction is becoming science fact.
However, those who have seen movies in this sub-genre before will have an idea of what to expect and the formula doesn’t seem to deviate too far from that. Also, unfortunately the movie spends a lot of time setting up Julie’s impending danger with little things like voices that only Julie can hear and things happening to put her on edge.
A technique which some may consider to be slow burn feels like it’s dragging out a rather thin story.
Then there’s the issue of using a woman suffering from anxiety as shorthand for somebody weak and helpless. Thankfully though it seems that I’ll Be Watching doesn’t fall on the old cliches of it being ‘all in her head’ or suggesting to the audience that what she’s experiencing isn’t real. Instead, it slowly unfurls Julie’s suspicions and doesn’t overplay her paranoia too much.
Saying that though, it feels like an older type of thriller that audiences may be too familiar with to care about. The final act does ramp up the tension, but unfortunately it does so by adding nonsensical twists which make it feel more artificial and less intelligent.
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