Watcher is a new drama/thriller movie directed by Chloe Okuno that follows a couple that recently moved to Romania so that the husband (Karl Glusman) could pursue a new job opportunity. The wife (Maika Monroe) soon notices that a person in an apartment across from hers is watching her through their window. Bizarre events ensue.
Watcher is just the latest film in one of my favorite thriller subgenres, one that I like to call “I think my neighbor is crazy but nobody believes me.” Rear Window, Disturbia, Fright Night, all movies that fall under that banner. These movies always include an incredible amount of gaslighting, but Watcher really takes it to the next level.
Julia, the wife, tells multiple people about the man she believes is stalking her, and nobody believes her. He’s constantly staring through the window and coincidentally showing up in the same public places as Julia. The movie does an excellent job at making us question her as well. I was really unsure what to believe throughout the entirety of the movie, almost like I was being gaslit alongside Julia.
Watcher is a tight hour and a half, but it still takes its time, slowly building a sense of dread. There are so many quietly tense moments that had me leaning forward in my seat and clenching my teeth. A lot of this can be attributed to director Chloe Okuno, who does some excellent work behind the camera. Watcher is beautifully shot, with the framing of the alleged stalker creating a lot of the movie’s most unsettling moments.
As a dramatic story, Watcher leans heavily on its cast, and they all deliver. Malika Monroe is so believably paranoid as Julia, and Karl Glusman’s skeptical and dismissive attitude makes us feel harder for our protagonist. Burn Gorman, who plays the “watcher” is really creepy, but in a quiet and harmless way that you’d likely chalk up to social awkwardness had you met him in person.
Watcher is a really well-done movie. If you’re a fan of the “I think my neighbor is crazy but nobody believes me” genre that I detailed earlier, you’ll dig this one for sure. Short run time means it’s not too huge of a commitment, and it’s available to rent online if you’re not up for making the trip to the theater.