Do Not Watch is a 2023 American found footage horror film, written by Ryan Toyama and directed by Justin Janowitz. Ryan has spent most of his writing career working on TV shows such as Splash and Bubbles (2017-18) and Chuggington (2020-21) with Do Not Watch being his first feature-length title. Justin is mostly known as a cinematographer, working on such titles as The Night Visitor 2: Heather’s Story (2016), Dracula Goes to Camp (2017), and Blood Brothers: Malcolm X & Muhammad Ali (2021) to name a few.

A cautionary tale of madness told through the lens of an unseen Editor who has constructed this film that unveils the events surrounding the disappearance of a post-production crew and the growing darkness that drove them insane. A decades-spanning mystery is interwoven across three timelines: a present-day documentary, several missing person cases, and scientific research footage from old VHS tapes.


Being separated into three different narratives, Do Not Watch skillfully walks a tightrope maintaining an efficient pace throughout each story. While it could be easy to become too infatuated with one aspect and become weighed down with exposition, or even chop between each with a sporadic indifference, the film navigates each of these with a contentious balance—providing a sufficient level of storytelling whilst still maintaining an enigmatic mystery around the whole ordeal. Additionally, juggling the difficult task of crafting three unique, interconnected tales, each strikingly different both in tone and velocity, while maintaining the validity of each throughout.

The VHS segment of the film sticks to the traditional format of the found footage genre, providing a gritty, amateur look into a scientific expedition that seems to encapsulate its 80s athletic, rather well—serving as a basis for each of the film’s stories. Our second feature, the head editor’s personal blog, features a similar abecedarian level of professionalism as the previous footage, however, spotlights a more proficient production value—implementing more modern equipment such as DSLRs and go-pros. Our third feature certainly offers the highest level of visual quality, providing a cinematic approach with high-end camera equipment. Although the visual design of each is vastly alternating, the interchange between them feels entirely intrinsic rather than jarring.


With a rather large cast for a found footage film, Do Not Watch is overflowing with incredible performances from every member. Insular characters, such as the retired park ranger who originally found the tapes, deliver a convincing portrayal of a man close to the edge, and the main characters portray a palpable level of manic obsession and visible burnout, enforcing a strong credibility to the events unfolding.

Captivating and mystifying, Do Not Watch’s drip-feeding of information undoubtedly inveigles the audience to become lost in its abstruse plot. With a deft intertwining of three unparalleled stories, wonderful performances from the entire cast, and a unique mix of cinegraphic styles, you should certainly ignore the film’s title and have a watch if you get the chance.

We watched Do Not Watch (2023) as part of Unnamed Footage Festival 7.

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