Keep Watching

Movie review by
Jeffrey M. Anderson, Common Sense Media
Keep Watching Movie Poster Image
Flawed, unsympathetic, violent home invasion movie.
  • R
  • 2017
  • 89 minutes

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this movie.

Positive Messages

Supposedly addresses online behavior and how negativity and violence seem to attract so much attention. While the movie doesn't offer any real insight on this theme, smart teens will be able to take the topic and start a discussion.

Positive Role Models & Representations

The characters are all flawed humans; they're perhaps a little too argumentative and selfish, but they're all victims.

Violence

Characters are attacked and killed, smothered by plastic bags over the head. A teen girl is attacked. A teen boy finds a lighter. Taser gun used. Knife, ax shown. Fire.

Sex

A teen girl is shown in a bikini/skimpy clothes, as well as undressing (including removing her bra) from behind. A teen boy snaps a photo of a woman bending over; texts "my stepmom's hot." Women described as "too hot." Cleavage. Kissing. Teen girl takes a home pregnancy test. Woman shown on toilet.

Language

Infrequent use of "f--k" and "s--t." Also "hell," "goddamn," "oh my God," and "Jesus Christ" (as exclamations).

Consumerism

Xbox mentioned.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

A man gives his teenage niece a joint. Adult men shown smoking pot. Casual wine-drinking.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Keep Watching is a home invasion thriller/horror movie that's shown from the point of view of hidden cameras. There are several killings, mostly via plastic bags held over victims heads, but there's also hitting and some attacks. A teen girl is shown in skimpy outfits; she undresses, removing her bra with her back to the camera. There's also some cleavage and kissing, and a teen boy snaps a photo of a woman bending over in jeans, and texts "my stepmom's hot." Language includes infrequent use of "f--k" and "s--t." A man gives a joint to his teenage niece, and two adults smoke pot. There's also casual wine drinking. The movie seems to want to say something about online violence inspiring lots of views, but it never expands on this theme in a concrete way. Bella Thorne stars.

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What's the story?

In KEEP WATCHING, the Mitchell family -- widowed father Adam (Ioan Gruffudd); his new girlfriend, Olivia (Natalie Martinez); his teen daughter, Jamie (Bella Thorne); and younger son, DJ (Chandler Riggs) -- arrives home. Little do they know that their house has been riddled with tiny, hidden cameras by a group of vicious killers that uploads videos of their savage deeds for people to watch online. Uncle Matt (Leigh Whannell) also drops by, and while he's investigating a mysterious occurrence, he's taken out. More nasty attacks happen, and before long, the survivors are hiding in the basement looking for a way out. But did the killers plan this whole thing all along? And what's their ultimate goal?

Is it any good?

This horror-thriller uses its dozens (hundreds?) of hidden cameras as a gimmick, which constantly distracts from the story ... even though the story and themes are absurdly thin. It's all practically pointless. Keep Watching was released in theaters for one night only, Halloween 2017, before eventually making its home-viewing debut (sympathies to those who spent their October 31 watching it). And it's flawed to its very core. The killers' only motive seems to be to get online views, and the movie isn't smart enough to comment on this in any meaningful way. The final "twist" doesn't even have anything to do with this theme (not to mention that it doesn't make sense).

Meanwhile, the bad guys magically seem to have a camera for every occasion and every conceivable angle. They even have a moving camera on tracks, mounted under a table, for the time that Jamie ducks under there looking for escape. Moreover, someone appears to either be editing all this footage on the fly -- or at least someone must have edited it after the fact. (Who?) The characters at the center of this overly convoluted framework don't offer much to care about; they mostly argue and think about themselves, to the point that you may not care much when any of them are brutally murdered. This ought to be called Stop Watching.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about Keep Watching's use of violence. Is it shocking or thrilling? How did the movie achieve this effect? What's the impact of media violence on kids?

  • What is the movie saying about digital citizenship? Do people watch too much violent content online? Is there anything we can (or should) do about it?

  • Is the movie scary? What's the appeal of the home invasion horror subgenre?

  • Does the movie's "hidden camera" idea work?

Movie details

For kids who love scares

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