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Tuesday, July 5, 2022

Review: Watcher

Director: Chloe Okuno

Screenplay: Zack Ford and Chloe Okuno

Year: 2022

A young woman moves with her husband to Romania after he gets a job promotion. Once there, the woman begins to suspect that a man is watching her from a window in the building opposite hers and that he is following her in the streets. At the same time, macabre murders of women are beginning to be reported in the area around her new home.

The theme of a stalking neighbor has been worked on many times in horror movies where perhaps the most notable is “Rear Window”, so the theme of “Watcher” didn't really catch my attention at first. However, the polished style that it presents was enough to make me think that this movie did have something different to offer. The script by Zack Ford and Chloe Okuno was in charge of proving me right and presenting one of the best contemporary films that I remember on this subject.

In “Watcher”, we follow Julia (Maika Monroe, “It Follows”), who, after moving to Romania, begins to feel the effects of loneliness caused by living in a country where she doesn't even know the language. At the same time, she begins to notice a neighbor who is constantly looking at her through the window of a nearby building. While Julia is convinced that the behavior of the man who looks at her and follows her is unusual, the people around her think that she is paranoid because of the stress of living in such a different place and the amount of time she spends alone.

It is in this game between paranoia and reality that the only weakness that I found in “Watcher” lies. It is evident that they try to keep the viewer doubting whether what is happening is real or not, but for me, it was quite clear from the beginning, so it seems to me that this aspect is not effective. Still, this aspect did not prevent me from enjoying the rest of the film.

Where “Watcher” stands out is in the audiovisual aspect and the performances, with the permission of the well-crafted script. “Watcher” has a polished and elegant style, characteristic of IFC films, which gives it a pleasant yet tense look. Both the audiovisual aspect and the excellent performances help the viewer to navigate smoothly through a slow-cooking plot.

Although its main weakness ruins what should have been a confusing and surprising plot, “Watcher” does so many things right that it doesn't detract too much from your enjoyment. Its sleek looks and terrific performances make the slow-cooking plot taut enough to hold the viewer's attention until the outcome, where it makes the most of its horror elements and practical effects.


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