31 December 2002 | Oliver_Lenhardt
Packed with tension.
John Carpenter's SOMEONE'S WATCHING ME! is an undisguised homage to REAR WINDOW, with nods to BLACK CHRISTMAS (an avowed favourite of Carpenter's) and the Italian Giallo genre, specifically Argento's DEEP RED. One elaborate scene, wherein the anxious heroine drops a knife through a grate, and then squeezes laboriously into the crawlspace beneath to hide, is a clear riff on giallo scenography.
The material is stale, but the execution is not. Carpenter's virtuoso use of gliding camera shots, shadow detail, composition, and mise en scene, ratchets up the suspense even during what would otherwise be incidental scenes in another director's hands. On occasion, TV-movie limpness creeps in momentarily, but, in the main, the picture's production is very professionally handled.
One major irritant is Lauren Hutton's protagonist, Leigh. She is endlessly spunky, constantly talking to herself, always rushing headlong into situations. It's grating right from the start, but as events unfold, her happy-go-lucky ebullience morphs (in the viewers' eyes) into a kind of blithe stupidity. Most thinking people would have closed their curtains, locked their doors, taken the prank calls more seriously, or perhaps moved away (pride be damned), much sooner than did she. Certainly most people wouldn't have walked knowingly into the stalker's trap, as Leigh does at the very end. "Someone's Watching Me" is nerve-wracking enough for one to suspend one's incredulity, and good enough to belong in, or just below, the rarefied sphere of Carpenter's two best, HALLOWEEN and THE THING.