Not Quite Horror: “The Watch” (2012)

The Watch (2012)

Not Quite Horror contains reviews of films not traditionally considered horror films. By analyzing them as horror films (identifying the monster, discussing the shared worry for the audience and the main characters, and understanding the depth of horror available to the viewer), who knows? There’s more than one way to watch a movie.

The Watch (2012)

The Monster: Aliens. Lots of them, by the end of the film.

Despite the comedic nature of this film, the aliens in The Watch are frightening enough for any extraterrestrial fright film. They are an amalgamation of Giger, Signs, and Pumpkin. They have pronounced spines and mouths built for killing.

The Horror: Even with a solid cast, the comedy in The Watch never finds its footing. Because the special effects for the aliens are much stronger than the humor, there is a moment at the end of the movie where, for less than a minute, The Watch is all horror and no comedy. The aliens are deadly, and they are swarming.

This moment is over soon enough, and the main actors save the day. Horror gives way to failed comedy.

The Shared Fate: Despite nudity and foul language, few things play it safer than ensemble cast comedies. Comedic actors are partnered together to show off their best bits. Each new movie is almost exactly like the movie before it.

How wonderfully apocalyptic would it be to see one of these films ruined by scary monsters? Particularly if the movie they ruin was wrecked to begin with?

Wouldn’t movie theaters be much happier places if hordes of alien monstrosities were waiting to rip apart the cast of the movie?

— I am indebted to Noel Carroll’s The Philosophy of Horror for his ideas on defining horror, as well as John Skipp and Craig Spector’s article “Death’s Rich Pageantry, or Skipp & Spector’s Handy-Dandy Splatterpunk Guide to the Horrors of Non-horror Film” in Cut! Horror Writers on Horror Film for a similar idea.–

–Axel Kohagen