This Campy Made-for-TV Chiller Starring Margot Kidder is Now Streaming on Prime Video

TV Someone is Watching

On my never-ending quest for quality entertainment, I stumbled across something of a diamond in the rough. Well, maybe a semi-precious gemstone in the rough. But let’s not split hairs. Someone is Watching is a made-for-TV film released in Canada circa 2000. And while it doesn’t get everything right, this sometimes-campy effort is certainly not without merit. Someone is Watching succeeds at invoking an air of suspense that never lets up until the credits roll. Plus, it includes some great twists and features the incomparable Margot Kidder in a quirky supporting turn. What’s more, you can find this all-but-forgotten chiller streaming on Prime Video as of the publication of this post.  

In Someone Is Watching, single mother Michelle (Stefanie Powers) moves into a new rental property with her son Cory (Mickey Toft). Michelle left her previous dwelling following a harrowing home invasion from which she is still recovering. Unfortunately, her new domicile has some challenges of its own. When Cory tells Michelle there’s a man living in his closet, she assumes the boy’s imagination must be running wild. But when horrifying and unexplainable events begin to transpire, Michelle wonders if the man in the closet may be more than a figment of Cory’s imagination.  

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This film’s strongest asset is its core cast. Margot Kidder is delightful as Michelle’s nosy neighbor, Sally. Mere minutes after Michelle and Cory move into their new home, Sally shows up, banging on the door with cookies in hand. Then, she proceeds to school Michelle on how the feng shui in her new home is all wrong. She brings a quirky charm vaguely reminiscent of Barb in Black Christmas but with fewer alcohol-induced rants and a gentler demeanor. When Michelle comments on Sally’s fondness for depicting angels in her artwork, Sally says “I love painting the little bastards”. In another memorable exchange, Sally flirts with the police detective courting Michelle and asks to see pictures of him in uniform from the days when he worked as a beat cop. She adds an offbeat charm that provides some relief from the film’s more intense sequences.

Stefani Powers is also perfectly enjoyable as Michelle. I’m a longtime fan of the 1979 mystery series Hart to Hart. So, seeing Jennifer Hart pop up in this made-for-TV chiller was a welcome sight. She doesn’t have the most dynamic range as a thespian. But this role fits well within her comfort zone and she makes for a serviceable leading lady.

Onscreen talent aside, the film’s atmosphere and tension make Someone is Watching worth, well, watching. The intensity is amplified by frequent cuts to the perspective of the voyeuristic stalker who’s secretly observing Michelle. We see through the perpetrator’s POV as the camera watches from the shadows. While we don’t learn the identity of the antagonist for some time, seeing from their perspective proves chilling.

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Also effective is the air of mystery surrounding the malevolent presence in Cory’s closet. There are some great shots that see items from Cory’s room disappearing into his closet and subsequently reappearing like a golf ball being returned from an automatic putting cup. Sequences like this are surely cheap to render and relatively easy to stage but they do the trick. After all, less is usually more. And that’s certainly the case here. 

Although it’s a bit unrealistic that Michelle would be the victim of a home invasion only to move into another dwelling with an unwanted presence, the setup is nonetheless effective. The idea that she is still reeling from a traumatic experience puts her in a vulnerable mindset and adds to the intensity of the proceedings. Rather than building to a crescendo, the narrative begins with the lead character on high alert, and matters only get worse from there. 

The proceedings are also helped along by a handful of nightmarish dream sequences, flashbacks, and hallucinations that translate to some well-timed jump scares. We’re not talking about Hitchcockian levels of suspense but the tension level is not half bad for a TV movie. 

Also Read: These 10 Horror Movies Will Make You Feel Like You’re Being Watched

Another aspect that I enjoy about this TV movie is the camp factor. The proceedings go over the top a few times in the first two acts but really veer into scenery-chewing silliness near the end when all is revealed. And while that may put some viewers off, I quite enjoyed it. There’s something charming about a villain excitedly monologuing the details of their evil plan with stone-cold sincerity that I can rarely resist. The final moments are certainly over-the-top but I had a good time with the off-the-rails conclusion. And I think anyone who appreciates such a setup will find plenty to enjoy here.   

All things considered, Someone is Watching isn’t high art and it doesn’t get everything right. But the picture serves up atmospheric tension, a strong cast, and a couple of twists along the way. If you’re curious to check it out, you can find the film streaming on Prime Video as of the publication of this post. 



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