On first impression, Watcher seems to be a stereotypical horror film – one with a beautiful blonde being tormented. But the movie quickly steps away from that stereotype and finds its footing in reality. That feeling deep down something is not right, that makes you walk a bit faster down the sidewalk. And that feeling of dread deep down inside.
The movie sets up the main character in the perfect storm scenario – the fish out of water. She’s been brought to Romania with her husband to live. She’s left home alone, often to wander and explore, and doesn’t speak the language. She’s alone and isolated, and when she starts to voice her concerns about someone watching and following her – she’s dismissed. She’s left to follow her gut, without the support of her husband, the police, or anyone else – instead, it’s dismissed as her not understanding the cultural ways and being a foreigner. Intuition aside, Julia (Maika Monroe) encapsulates something that every woman has felt deep at her core before.
Besides a couple of moments where the character makes missteps that would fall under classic horror movie moments, the movie has one thing at its core – dread. It doesn’t use music or jump scares to drive the audience, just that feeling we all know so well, that something isn’t right. And that we should all listen to that little voice just a bit more often.
What is striking about Watcher is it shows a real-life scenario that a lot of women can relate to – relaying their fear or concern and being constantly disregarded. The outcome of this, of course, can be deadly and that makes the fear even more palpable in the film. While Watcher does seem to take a slower pace to get to the point, this movie is the very definition of a thriller and one that will tap into that gut feeling so many people have been told to ignore through the years.
WATCHER will open theatrically on June 3rd from IFC Films. WATCHER will stream exclusively on SHUDDER August.
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In WATCHER, Julia (Maika Monroe) joins her husband (Karl Glusman) when he relocates to his family’s native Romania for a new job. Having recently abandoned her acting career, she finds herself frequently alone and unoccupied. One night, people-watching from her picture window, she spots a vague figure in an adjacent building, who seems to be looking back at her. Soon after, while alone at a local movie theater, Julia’s sense of being watched intensifies, and she becomes certain she’s being followed — could it be the same unknown neighbor? Meanwhile, a serial killer known as The Spider stalks the city.
WATCHER had its world premiere at the 2022 Sundance Film Festival and most recently screened at the 2022 SXSW Film Festival.