Observer Image


By Jordan Bond | March 12, 2024

Observer is a devilish horror film written and directed by Stephen Sander, pitting angels against demons as they plead their case for the souls of teenagers. Melissa (Amy Taafe) makes plans over the phone to meet up with a friend. Immediately after picking up her friends, two guys come out of nowhere and jump in the backseat. Melissa has been kidnapped and witnesses her kidnappers causing more harm to others. Are they controlling themselves, or are supernatural influences afoot?

Later, Melissa’s younger brother, Jake (A.J. Popoff), is also kidnapped. They are held captive at a house while forces from above and below fight over their souls. Going toe to toe with the forces of evil is an angel named Ariel (Jennifer Chalamov), who constantly advocates for forgiveness and love. A handful of demons will do and say whatever they can to control the destinies of the teens. Will Melissa and A.J. end up going free, or will they see their ultimate demise?

Observer is not scary per se as much as thought-provoking. It would be classified as a horror movie, but this taps into the morality plays of old, playing dramatically with the good versus evil conceit. Thematically, Sander’s film is like the French film Martyrs, but with a religious twist.

“…held captive at a house while forces from above and below fight over their souls.”

Frames are saturated red, blue, or green depending on the spiritual realm in which the scene takes place. Such moments of fantastic cinematography are the absolute highlight. The film is packed with some truly breathtaking frames. The deeply saturated colors during the scenes of the spiritual realm provide fertile ground for moody and contrasting images. With a bigger budget for costume design, the cinematography could stand up against some of the best heavy metal music videos out there.

I expected a typical low-budget horror flick when I first loaded up this film. However, it has a distinct cult classic vibe that sets it apart. Characters jump back and forth between mediums of the physical world and the spiritual realm.  Unfortunately, after the kidnapping plot, there isn’t too much of a story here besides some feisty dialogue between demonic and angelic figures. The plot isn’t clear about why the sister-brother pair were kidnapped. I think there was more to be explored in the plot of the physical world.

Observer reminds me somewhat of The Exorcist, just without the uhh… exorcism. The underlying “power of Christ compels you” theme is present. There is a lot of talk about heaven and hell, God, Satan, Israel, Hebrews, Latin phrases, and other Biblical references. The dialogue is heavy at times and might be hard for some viewers to follow. However, like The Exorcist, such poetic language creates this creepy ancient vibe in which the film thrives. Though it has a straightforward plot, the images and tone are striking. If spiritual warfare sounds intriguing to you, give this a watch.

Observer (2024)

Directed and Written: Stephen Sander

Starring: Jennifer Chalamov, Amy Taaffe, A.J. Popoff, etc.

Movie score: 6/10

Observer Image

"…reminds me somewhat of The Exorcist, just without the uhh... exorcism."

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