observanceDown on his luck and looking to make some extra money, Parker, a private investigator (Lindsay Farris) finds himself out of his depth when he agrees to spy on a woman (Stephanie King). The job appears relative simple at first, but the more Parker records of the woman the more he stumbles down a well of depraved insanity that has him questioning if there are otherworldly forces at work.

Made for only $11,000 over the course of 11 days, Observance looks to get into your mind and terrify audiences with the less is more approach. It is a well-crafted film, but it doesn’t succeed at probing the psyche. What’s notable is the lack of score which would have been helpful in creating an eerie atmosphere. Instead nothing happens for long periods resulting in dull moments with no payoff.

The plot plays out like a riddle and with every hint revealed, we feel no closer to getting an answer. Farris does a decent job in the role but I found it difficult to invest in his character or care much for him. A melancholic back story gives us some information on his motivation however it followed familiar tropes that were clichéd in an eye rolling manner.

observance-lindsay-farris-parker-20Observance is a slow burning horror that gradually raises the tension before a brutal third act climax. It’s an unsatisfactory and perhaps predictable ending that lacked any emotional depth and left me feeling cold, albeit not in an uncomfortable manner.

While there are the seeds of a disturbing tale within the movie, I couldn’t help but feel that perhaps Observance would’ve worked better as a short film. There are elements that could be creepy but the padded out plot extinguishes any fear that shines through.

Thomas Simpson
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