The Horror Honeys: Slasher Hexmas ~ Someone Wants to Dance Badly with You...

Slasher Hexmas ~ Someone Wants to Dance Badly with You...

A Revenge Honey Slasher Hexmas Review by Linnie

The Watcher (2000)

Sometimes, you can't explain why you love a really awful movie. Is it because it stars many of your favorite actors? Is it because you can't tear your eyes away from the film version of a train wreck? Or maybe it's because Keanu Reeves can't dance, and you are immediately drawn to any movie that centers on him dancing because of the sheer absurdity? Hell, it's probably all of these things. And that is why I love the shit out of Joe Charbanic's The Watcher, a serial killer/slasher movie that is so utterly ridiculous, I wanna make out with it and then slap it across the face.

The Story: Joel Campbell (James Spader) is a totally fucked up FBI agent, left in psychological tatters after his girlfriend was murdered by charismatic serial killer David Allen Griffin (Reeves). Campbell now suffers panic attacks, insomnia, and migraines, all of which hinder his ability to function as an agent in Chicago. His greatest regret is not capturing Griffin in LA, which means their cat-and-mouse (if the cat and mouse seemed to be attracted to one another) game can proceed unchanged. Griffin continues watching, dancing with, then killing, victim after victim, all to taunt Campbell into chasing him down. But when Griffin targets Campbell's sexy psychiatrist (Marisa Tomei) the stakes are raised and our cat and mouse begin their final dance... OF DEATH!

Revenge Honey Note: Expect cheesy puns going forward. This movie warrants them all.

Keanu Reeves can watch me any time. I'll leave the light on.
Now, I'd be remiss if I didn't admit that in 2000, I snuck into The Watcher because of Keanu Reeves. I've been in love with the man since 1988 (Dangerous Liaisons, bitches! Insomnia and unfettered TV access FTW) and have been apologizing for his film choices ever since (until very recently. I won't apologize for this). It's been a complicated relationship, but one I treasure, so suffice to say, there isn't much I won't forgive him (except this). And as a serial killing, terrible music taste-having (that's a Rob Zombie dig... MUAHAHA), enemy of dance in The Watcher, he is absolutely ridiculous. But sometimes, you don't want your Keanu any other way.

Then we have James Spader as the straight man, which in and of itself is enough of an anomaly to make The Watcher worth checking out. While Spader's performances are rarely what you'd call mellow, this is about as close as he's ever going to get. Tortured, brilliant, and conflicted, you pretty much always get the feeling that Spader is playing shades of himself. Is that a bad thing? Nah, as long as he isn't Steff for real, he can be as crazy as he wants.

For the majority of the running time, The Watcher is your standard serial killer film, elevated only slightly above your typical Lifetime MOW fare by its cast. What makes The Watcher really crackle are the scenes between Spader and Reeves, in which the sexual tension and strange attraction the two have to each other really shows. The characters have, intentionally or not, focused their entire lives around one another, and this kind of singular focus creates a relationship that is hard to break. Tomei's Dr. Polly Beilman even implies that there is something deeper hovering below the surface of Campbell's single-minded pursuit of Griffin. When boys play cops and robbers, is there a different game they wish they were playing?

Firebug AND a bad dancer? Be still my heart.
Everything about The Watcher has the feel of a film clinging to final minutes of the 90s, and if you are nostalgic for all the ridiculousness that decade had to offer, it is highly likely you too will love this movie. Just don't expect Se7en. Maybe Three and a Half though? That seems about right.

Additional Revenge Honey Note: If you fancy yourself a connoisseur of late 90s alt-rock, you're going to love The Watcher's soundtrack... Portishead, Rob Zombie, Sneaker Pimps. You probably had the whole soundtrack on every mix tape you made. Well, I did anyway.

Revenge Honey Rating: 3 & 1/2 Keanu sex puns out of 5
He can walk... across... my grave, anytime?

The Watcher is available via iTunes, Amazon Instant Video, YouTube VOD, Vudu, Google Play, & DVD

Would you let Keanu "watch" you?
Tell me on Twitter: @linnieloowho