Review: OBSERVANCE Shows The Sexy And Scary Sides Of Surveillance
Observance is writer-director Joseph Sims-Dennett's follow up to his 2010 film Bad Behaviour, which won Best Director, Best Screenplay and Runner-up Best Film at the Melbourne Underground Film Festival. Made with a very limited budget, it is a worthy follow up to Bad Behaviour and an effective thriller with some truly chilling moments. It has even drawn comparisons with Polanski's Repulsion by the organizers of this year's Fantasia Festival, where it is having its World Premiere.
Most of the film takes place within a rundown apartment, and all of the best scenes take place there. The apartment feels eerie and claustrophobic, and helps create a sense that bad things are going to happen at any moment. I find the scenes that take place outside of the apartment, especially the ones near the water, rather distracting. It feels like they are there to wake me up when I am enjoying the nightmarish journey. Fortunately, those scenes are few and far between and suspense is still allowed to build up effectively until the film reaches its shocking climax.
Lindsay Farris as Parker appears in almost every scene, and he gives a convincing performance as a man who finds himself slowly descending into insanity. Stephanie King plays the attractive subject under his surveillance and brings some sexiness to the film. Brendan Cowell, who does not make a physical appearance and only provides his voice, is particular good as Parker's cold and manipulative employer. As a bonus, horror icon John Jarratt (Wolf Creek) also makes a brief appearance.
On the whole, Observance is a suspenseful, edge of the seat thriller that should please fans of the horror / thriller genre. I have enjoyed it a lot, even though I do believe that it would have been even scarier if every scene was filmed inside that apartment.