Someone is Watching (1999)


Canada/USA. 1999.


Director – Douglas Jackson, Screenplay – Charles Klausmeyer & Mark Kinsey Stephenson, Producers – Pierre David, Elisabeth-Ann Gimber & Geoffrey S. Patanaude, Photography – Bruno Philip, Music – Richard Bowers, Special Effects – Cineffects Inc (Supervisor – Ryal Cosgrove), Art Direction – Joseane Brunell & Tristan Tondino. Production Company – Legend Entertainment/Uno Bandito Productions/World International Network, llc


Stefanie Powers (Michelle Dupree), Margot Kidder (Sally Beckert), Stewart Bick (Detective Joe Caravelli), Martin Neufeld (Bobby Culley), Mickey Toft (Cory Dupree), Barry Flatman (Charles Jensen), Doug Lennox (Robert Culley), Alan Fawcett (Everett Lilly), Pamela Witcher (Rebecca)


Michelle Dupree moves into a new house with her adopted son Cory. Soon afterwards, she begins to receive mysterious phone calls and realizes that someone is stalking her. These appear to be the activities of Bobby, the mentally disturbed son of her neighbour. However, Bobby commits suicide and the stalkings continue to occur. At the same time, Cory begins to develop a mysterious invisible playmate BJ who appears inside his closet.

From the 1990s, Canadian-born producer Pierre David has become a prolific producer of usually direct-to-video psycho-thrillers. David has produced the likes of The Secretary (1995), Daddy’s Girl (1996), The Dentist (1996), Cupid (1997), The Landlady (1997), Man of Her Dreams (1997), The Nurse (1997), Alone with a Stranger (2000), The Perfect Nanny (2000), The Perfect Tenant (2000), The Stepdaughter (2000) and The Perfect Wife (2001), among numerous others.

With Someone is Watching, which was released direct to cable, Pierre David returns to his native Montreal to shoot. Directing chores are taken by Douglas Jackson in his fifth film for David – he’s also wracked up Deadbolt (1993), The Paperboy (1994), Stalked (1994), The Wrong Woman (1995) and following this some seventeen other films. Douglas Jackson, at least here, is a nondescript director. However, Someone is Watching compensates for this and is propelled into the decidedly watchable by an intriguing script. This contains some marvellous surprises and way-out twists – the scene where Stefanie Powers is talking to a parent at the nursery, where he mentions that a girl in a red dress is his daughter, but then other parents come to pick her up and when Powers turns around again the man she was talking to is gone; the scene where she angrily rings her landlord to tell him that his son is still peeping in on her, only to be curtly informed that the son has just hung himself; the ultra-spooky moment where young Mickey Toft throws a pen into the closet and a moment later it is thrown back out at him; and the scene where psychic Pamela Witcher enters the house and begins to detect vibes, which suddenly spins the film around with a decidedly sinister undertow.

The invisible playmate element makes Someone is Watching seem like a fascinating conceptual combination of one of Pierre David’s stalker psycho-thrillers and Cameron’s Closet (1988) about a boy with a supernatural force in his closet. Ultimately, Someone is Watching opts for a mundane non-fantastic resolution. The revelation of what is going on is slightly disappointing in that the performance given by the individual in question is one that plays into cliché images of the handicapped. That said, Douglas Jackson maintains a passably suspenseful climax.

In returning to his homeland, Pierre David has brought of retirement the great Canadian actress Margot Kidder. Margot Kidder was once seen as a big name in the 1970s/early 80s, especially after her starring role in Superman (1978) but subsequently vanished from sight. Kidder expectedly rises to the occasion and gives a wonderfully daffy performance. The film is also notable for the bravery of the two actresses – Margot Kidder and Stefanie Powers – in not shying away from their creeping age factor – Kidder was 51 when the film was made, while Powers was 57.

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