Surveillance (2009)

Genre(s): Horror / Thriller
Magnolia || R - 97 minutes - $26.98 || August 18, 2009
Reviewer: Tyler Thomas || Posted On: 2009-08-16

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.:: F I L M ::.
The Film

.: F E A T U R E S :.

Special Features

.:: V I D E O ::.

.:: A U D I O ::.

.:: O V E R A L L ::.
Director: Jennifer Lynch
Writer(s): Jennifer Lynch and Kent Harper (written by)
Cast: Julia Ormond, Bill Pullman, Pell James, French Stewart

Supplemental Material:
  • Feature Commentary
  • 2 Featurettes
  • Deleted Scenes

Technical Information:
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Widescreen (2.35)
  • English (Dolby Digital 5.1), English (Dolby Digital 2.0)
  • Subtitles: Spanish

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.::THE FILM::.

Iíve become so bored with horror films as of late. The whole ďhey letís try and freak the audience out with a bunch of torture-like sequences to get their attention will work right?Ē No, it doesnít. Sorry, but those sorts of things make the movie suck more generally, but yes there are a few I still like regardless. Anyways, back to the topic, Surveillance is one of those films that tries so hard to be something itís not, at first it acts like a horror flick, then a suspense, then an action, and finally it ends up with a film I just didnít care about after I figured out who the killers were the first five minutes.

Elizabeth (Julia Ormond) and Sam (Bill Pullman) are two F.B.I. agents heading to the scene of the latest serial killer death thing. Yeah, I canít describe it, just keep reading. They visit the local precinct to find three victims still alive from the latest killing: Bobbi (Pell James, gorgeous), Stephanie (Ryan Simpkins, little child, creepy), and Jim (French Stewart, overly aggressive psycho cop). The agents split up the victims to different rooms so they can each tell their own story. Elizabeth takes Stephanie to color some pictures, while the other officers interrogate the remaining two.

The problem is, is well the fact that all three of the people tell a different story or leave little tidbits out. One of the cops that were killed during this latest killing spree was a little overzealous, and he along with his partner Jim shot out the tires of on-going motorists and pretty much caused a bunch of them to get killed. Bobbi is a complete stoner, and along with her boyfriend stole a bunch of drugs from a then-dead stoner and is high as a kite during the interview and when the killings went down. Stephanieís family was killed off as well by the killers, but not before she tried warning both the family and the cops of the impending danger of seeing a few bodies here and there on the road.

Elizabeth tries to bond with the girl, who draws some pictures of creepy stick-like figurines the entire film, but fails to get any real information out of her. The other two are well, stupid, and continue to lie about what really happened that day and muffle up some key items. That doesnít really matter though, as the film doesnít really do anything. The big twist at the end of who the killers were (I mean seriously, thereís like 6 people in the movie overall, take your pick. Youíve got a 33 percent chance to be right) was so predictable that even my girlfriend guessed it.

Iím honestly not even sure why Iím bothering to give this movie the rating I did, and then I realized itís because of the gorgeous Pell James. She looks like one of those chicks from the gossip shows or whatever, and has a bright career ahead of her. Or at least she needs to get a new agent and star in some better films. The cast of cops donít really fit in either, and by the way, yes you read that right, Cheri Oteri, SNL alum, SNL going to be a big movie star, has a small role in the film as the wife and mother of Stephanie. She has like ten lines the entire flick and contributes nothing, but sheís so miss-cast its unbelievable.

The twist sucks, thereís not a lot of gore, and the characters are so bland it was hard even for me, the resident Horror Buff here, to find this flick even the least likeable.


Commentary by Jennifer Lynch, Mac Miller, and Charlie Newmark: The director and two of the officers from the movie join forces for a commentary that is better than the movie. Why you ask? Well they talk over most of the dialogue but donít actually talk that much about the flick. I recommend listening to this than watching the film, but thatís just me.

Surveillance: The Watched are Watching (15 minutes): The cast and crew talk about how the movie was made, and how it came together. Not all that interesting, similar to the film.

HDNet: A Look at Surveillance (5 minutes): Sort of a mini-trailer for the film with some of the cast talking about the flick.

Deleted Scenes/Alternate Ending (12 minutes): Two deleted scenes that can be skipped promptly and an alternate ending that was honestly better than the real one in the movie. Mainly due to the fact the hot chick lives.


For a pretty much straight-to-DVD film, I donít go expecting too much in terms of the technical aspects of movies. This one isnít any different than my usual thoughts, as colors are somewhat dull and there is grain in most of the scenes of the flick. Colors donít stand out, and the characters appear plain and not a lot of depth to them, in really any of the scenes. Even the outside scenes in the gorgeous, um, desert area? That they are in donít look all too well, which was shocking. Grain envelops most of the later part as well, which is disappointing as it was challenging to engage this boring film with so many issues of grain plaguing it.

The Dolby Digital 5.1 track for the movie doesnít really do that well either. Dialogue levels are inconsistent, as several times I had to crank up the volume just to hear the characters speak, and even the very few action sequences involved with this dreary nightmare donít sound all that good either. The gunshots were dull, and the fighting sequences (all two of them) just fell flat. Thereís not a lot of oomph at all to this flick, and speaking of oomph there isnít any sort of real surround use either. Donít go showing this one off to your friends and family.


Iím being kind by giving this two stars overall, as this was probably one of the worst films Iíve seen in a long time. I had the correct guess as to whom the killers were right from the bat, and once the big reveal is shown, itís just not that interesting nor will you care if you are still watching it. The technical aspect is a little-below average, and the special features wonít dazzle you either. Sorry, but this is one to not bother survey. Apparently I canít find another word for the title of the film, so survey will have to do.