Always Watching: A Marble Hornets Story
Directed by: James Moran
Written by: Joseph DeLage, Ian Shorr, & Troy Wagner
Starring: Alexandra Breckenridge, Doug Jones, Alexandra Holden, Jake McDorman, & Chris Marquette
I am a big Marble Hornets fan, having watched the YouTube series in it’s entirety. Even if the series dragged on a bit toward the end and left you with more questions rather than answers, it still had an intriguing plot and a bunch of creepy ass scenes that always left you wanting more. When the series finally came to an end, a rather unexpected one at that, I was disappointed. I wanted more Slenderman, but was not a fan of the other similar YouTube series out there. Although I must say EverymanHYBRID had an impressive start to it. The other series just felt lacking or too similar to each other to hold my attention after a while, and I found myself wanting more Marble Hornets than anything.
I was quite excited browsing Amazon this morning when I came across Always Watching. I rented it almost immediately. The film is a completely new storyline following a group of reporters who are investigating the mysterious disappearance of a local family. While shooting a segment in the missing family’s house, they stumble upon a box of tapes that may contain the key to the family’s disappearance.
Ecstatic that they are on to something big, the reporters begin watching the tapes to search for clues. Soon after watching the first few tapes, they begin to notice a mysterious man in the background, no other than Slendy himself. Slenderman appears in various shots in the family’s videos and the family had begun to notice him.
As the one reporter, Mylo begins to obsess over the videos, trying to decipher who the strange man in the suit is, he realizes he is being stalked as well. Mylo thinks it’s just himself being followed, but soon him and his friends are next. The group hastily flees town trying to outrun Slendy but of course, it works to no avail. I mean, c’mon, it’s Slenderman we’re talking about.
Always Watching has a pretty impressive cast including Alexandra Breckenridge (American Horror Story, The Walking Dead), Jake McDorman (American Sniper, Shameless), Chris Marquette (The Rite) and Alexandra Holden (Dead End, Lovely Molly). The cast does a great job with their characters but some scenes seemed forced.
The movie does hold your attention being very fast-paced but as the film went on, the similarities it holds with Marble Hornets was very striking. Almost to the point where it was getting predictable. However, I must say the ending was rather interesting and different than what I had expected.
There are plenty of jump scares and creepy moments to satisfy your horror needs but overall, Always Watching didn’t stick to me like Marble Hornets did. When it was over, I wasn’t left scared or creeped out, I just felt like whatever. I think the film revealed Slenderman too soon into it, and didn’t have that creepy atmosphere that Marble Hornets was able to create. Marble Hornets succeeded because it was so subtle and knew the exact moment to throw Slendy on the screen to scare the crap out of you. But Always Watching showed Slenderman right when you were expecting to see him.
I think if Always Watching had tried to differ the story more from Marble Hornets, it would have been more effective. The problem with all the Slenderman series and movies out there, is that they’re all so much alike, with Slendy popping up on cameras. Perhaps, if a film was made that was not found footage and followed a different sort of story than maybe we’d be able to be more impressed.
Don’t get me wrong though, Always Watching is definitely worth a watch, especially if you’re a Slenderman fan. Although, Marble Hornets fans may be a little disappointed in a few respects. I’d give the film a 3/5, and still hope to see more from the Marble Hornets creators.
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