As a novice, I always wondered whether America only produces Sci-Fi shows. Then I watched Cast Away and The Pursuit of Happyness, two films that changed my opinion and perspective. I realized there was more to Hollywood than DC and Marvel.
My first impression of The Watcher was that it was another adventurous series, and only when I read the synopsis that I realized it wasn’t the case. The American show is based on a real-life story and contains seven episodes with a cumulative runtime of approx. 300 minutes.
Here’s my The Watcher series review, where I present my views and help you decide if it deserves your time.
The Watcher Review Summary
Suspense and Mystery are put to full use in The Watcher. The show grabs you from the word go, but not all is good about it. Keep reading my review to find out more.
The Watcher Synopsis
A family moves to their dream house, which soon turns into their worst nightmare after they start receiving letters from an unknown stalker who goes by the name, The Watcher. The Netflix show is based on a true story.
Created by Ryan Murphy and Ian Brennan, The Watcher stars Naomi Watts (Nora), Bobby Cannavale (Dean), Jennifer Coolidge (Karen), Noma Dumezweni (Theodora), Joe Mantello (John), Mia Farrow, and Margo Martindale (Moureen), among others.
What Works for The Watcher?
Stalkers can be the face of hell, which helps The Watcher create swathes of tension. The first few episodes generate apprehension in connivance with fear and a looming threat. It gets murkier with the addition of more characters and dwindling personal relationships. Moreover, the mental pressure feels relatable and helps the tale flourish.
You can indulge in the plot of The Watcher without attracting sleep. The series places good emphasis on positioning the events, thereby consistently revitalizing your senses. Moreover, every twist is given due attention, so they don’t fall off the cliff.
Eerie, spooky, and, at times, atonal. That’s what the major part of The Watcher’s background music sounds like. Yes, we have suspenseful crescendos, too, but they are intermittent. The makers manage to hook you to the core without sounding obvious. They do it by blending the screenplay with emotions and then dutifully promulgating the tones.
Additionally, just to connect the dots, I felt The Watcher’s score was strikingly similar to the recently released Echoes.
Mostly, camera work is appreciated in films high on aesthetics with a significant reliance on landscapes or action sequences. However, The Watcher forces you to adore the art of calm videography. The people behind the lens ace the gentle movements, comfort you with slow zoom-ins and throw many admirable shots. I loved how they managed to ensure that the cinematography looked apart.
Naomi Watts plays Nora in The Watcher, and her acting skills, established over decades of professionalism, rule the entire series. She’s never pretentious as a wife, mother, friend, or someone being watched. Her depiction of the underlying horror is tuned to perfection. Moreover, Watts delays the arrival of emotional outbursts while not hampering an iota of the plot’s markup.
Bobby Cannavale comes across as a performer full of layers. Playing Dean in The Watcher, he has vast responsibilities because he is the doer of the story. In one frame, he is finding the culprit with all his zeal, then he is getting sentimental with his daughter, intimate with his wife, introspecting with himself, laughing, stressing, and I wonder how he achieved a conducive mien for such a composite character.
Jennifer Coolidge maintains her usual charisma as Karen, though with a shade of vagueness. Her blabbering act feels hilarious, and you will like her presence on most occasions. Karen’s provocatively smart character is elevated further by Jennifer’s proven abilities.
Noma Dumezweni as Theodora pulls off a contained performance with finesse. Ever since she makes an appearance, Noma never skips your mind. She is one of those characters who are mystic yet harmless.
Margo Martindale is a box full of mysteries in The Watcher. She plays Moureen, a cranky neighbor bamboozled by change. Her expressions and intonations were two things I loved the most.
What Doesn’t Work for The Watcher?
Beats Around the Bush
Since the show is based on a true story, there’s very little it does wrong to attract criticism. However, one thing I want to mention is the creators’ excessive reliance on intensifying the mystery factor. Especially when looked alongside the ending.
They introduce many characters and give them cocky shades to confuse the viewer, which I felt was too much. You can, obviously, have a different opinion.
Had it had its roots in a fictional tale, I would have mentioned how bad the ending was.
The spooky presentation of The Watcher deserves a watch. You can go for it.
Is The Watcher a Real Story?
The show is based on the New York Magazine article “The Haunting” by Reeves Wiedman.
What is the real story behind The Watcher?
In 2014, a couple who had moved into their dream home at 657 Boulevard, Westfield, New Jersey, started receiving ominous letters by someone going by the name “The Watcher.” The real name of the couple was Derek and Maria Broddus, portrayed by Bobby Cannavale and Naomi Watts in the Netflix series.
While initially, the tone of the letter was welcoming, it became depressive and fiery with each new letter. Even the previous owners of the house had received similar letters.
The Broddus family received four letters in total before they rented out the apartment, after several failed attempts at selling the same.
Till date, The Watcher has not been caught. You can read in depth about the real incident by clicking here.