Presented as more a thought piece than coherent story, Observance risks alienating many viewers; there are no answers to be had, only clues, with no black-and-white conclusion revealed. For those who value a truly psychological film, however, it is an effectively unsettling experience.

The premise initially appears straightforward for both protagonist and viewer alike: private investigator Parker holes himself up in a derelict apartment opposite his newest assignment’s home, with no instructions other than to report all goings on. A smattering of backstory reveals that he is grieving the recent death of his son, and as the days pass, Parker’s grief appears to manifest itself within his surrounds. 

And yet to summarise Observance so simply feels a disservice to a film that holds its strength in its ambiguity; the lack of answers are what create such a palpable sense of dread. That this is only director Joseph Sims-Dennett’s second feature is impressive.

Lindsay Farris
Stephanie King
Brendan Cowell

Joseph Sims-Dennett

Joseph Sims-Dennett
Josh Zammit

10 October 2016


Posted by Naila Scargill

Naila is the founder and editor of Exquisite Terror. Holding a broad editorial background, she has worked with an eclectic variety of content, 
ranging from film and the counterculture, to political news and finance. She is the Culture Editor at Trebuchet, and generally gets around.