Someone’s Watching Me! – John Carpenter – 1978

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1978 was a busy year for John Carpenter. He made Elvis!, Halloween, and this little gem, Someone’s Watching Me. He put Lauren Hutton in it and made a nice little slice of Hitchcock. He wrote it as a feature, but the suits thought it was soft so they sent it to TV, where he turned in a nice little piece.

Leigh Michaels is a TV director who is being stalked Rear Window style by someone across a building from her. She begins to receive strange packages and calls. After the police prove useless she sets out to discover for herself who her mysterious caller is.

Lauren Hutton is very good in this role. She is onscreen for basically the entire film so she has to be likeable, vulnerable and a credible heroine, which she is. She is funny, strong and confident, so much so that when she is shaken is doubly effective.

Most of the film takes place in Leigh’s lush and beautiful LA high-rise. I really do find it hard to empathize with a well-paid LA tv director, even if she is Lauren Hutton. She has little to no character beats. What does she do? Smoke and drink? I don’t even think she has any art in her apartment.

The supporting cast is fine but very unremarkable. David Birney gets some time in as supportive boyfriend and Adrienne Barbeau makes minutes as friend who gets killed. I suppose Charles Cyphers makes the biggest impression as a mostly impotent police chief.

Carpenter is finding his voice here, using suspense and strong characters to push the story along, though he did not score this film, so that synth-y Carpenter propulsive score is absent and sorely missed.

The plot is very thin, and many times I was waiting for things to happen. Little touches seem to transpire to pad out the plot rather than to serve it, so I got a bit bored. Much of the problem lies in the mystery villain. I would rather the story serve the villain or at least represent his actions more outwardly, like Michael Myers. This character is mostly a red herring until the final minutes of the film.

This one is for fans of Lauren Hutton, John Carpenter completists and those who like it when other directors try their hand at making a Hitchcock film. Someone’s Watching Me? Not many.

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