An effective and engrossing slow burn thriller that grabbed my attention from the first frames of the movie.
Julia (Maika Monroe) and her husband Francis (Karl Glusman) relocate to Bucharest for his job. Soon after they arrive at their new apartment, Julia notices a stranger in a window across the street watching her – or are they?
Julia is a stranger in a strange land who does not speak the local language and finds herself alone while her husband goes to work – and sometimes works long hours into the night. The movie is very effective in conveying Julia’s loneliness and isolation – and the use of language as one of the factors was brilliant.
As Julia goes about her life, she has a growing suspicion about the stranger. She tries to tell others about him, but they do not listen to her and they try to talk her out of her beliefs. The script by writer/director Chloe Okuno does a wonderful job at making us question if Julia’s paranoia is all in her head or not.
Okuno develops a real sense of creepiness and tension without the use of any gimmicks and gives Watcher a Hitchcockian feel through the use of suspense to drive the movie forward. She leaves us wondering, who really is the watcher that is referenced in the title of the film.
Watcher is gorgeously shot by cinematographer Benjamin Kirk Nielsen. With much attention to detail paid to each and every frame. I especially loved the few times the camera was positioned directly outside the large windows of Julia’s apartment letting us voyeuristically watch what is happening inside the apartment as the camera slowly pulls away – in essence making us the watcher.
The score by Nathan Halpern is haunting.
Maika Monroe owns this movie and is a true star in the movie. She perfectly brings us into her lonely world and makes us just as paranoid as she is. Burn Gorman is suitably creepy in the movie, leaving quite an impression.
Watcher is a gripping slow-burn movie that captured my attention from beginning to end. I highly recommend Watcher. The last frame of the movie was chilling.
Watched at home, streamed on Shudder.
Brilliant use of Chekov’s Gun.