Someone took their faces

Main Cast: Chrissie Watkins

Director: Christian Wood

This was an unexpected gift that showed up in my email earlier in the week in author Cullen Bunn’s weekly newsletter.  Cullen is a horror writer turned comic book writer turned horror comic book writer who’s never really kept his feet in one medium, ever (see the numerous games he’s been tied to as well).  So when he announced in his newsletter that he’d written a short film, I was only surprised in that I don’t remember him mentioning it before.  But the fact Cullen wrote a short horror film?  Yeah, totally makes sense, and I should have seen it coming.

As for the film, WATCHING, starring Chrissie Watkins and directed by Christian Wood, I’ve read enough of Bunn’s horror comics (Invasive, Door 2 Door Night By Night, The Midnite Show, Lamentations, Ghostlore, Shock Shop, Harrow County, The Empty Man) to know this is pure Cullen, giving you something you don’t expect and doing so in a way you didn’t see coming.

WATCHING is 7 minutes and 41 seconds of our unnamed main character, played by Watkins, looking out her apartment window and describing to the audience what she sees as the world ends.  And what an ending.  It starts with people in the streets, some naked, some with baseball bats, knives, and axes.  Things are crawling on the cars.  Her neighbors come outside to see, but they can’t see because, “Someone took their faces.”  Then the ground opens up and, on my first watch I thought Hell was erupting … but I’ve been a fan of Cullen Bunn long enough to know how much he loves the Cthulhu mythos and wouldn’t be surprised at all if we had a reverse angle of that shot and saw tentacles.

But there is no reverse angle because WATCHING is an exercise in using the resources available to their fullest.  We spend the entire run time watching someone watch, and while that sounds like it should be 7 minutes of BORING, Bunn’s descriptive dialogue paired with Watkins’ acting and delivery, the tension just builds and builds.

But let’s not forget to mention one of the real stars of this production, Tavish Lawson, who provided the excellent sound design.  I mean, this would be an entirely different experience if we didn’t have the sounds of chaos, cop cars, helicopters, earthquakes, etc. to accompany Watkins’ description.  Watch this one with headphones for the full effect.

I was incredibly impressed with just how much Bunn and Wood achieved here given they were working with so little.  I mean it’s literally Chrissie Watkins looking out her window and telling the viewer what she sees.  And it totally works!

Go spend 7 minutes watching Chrissie Watkins watch in Cullen Bunn’s WATCHING and show one of the absolute hardest working writers in the genre some well-earned love.

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