If you're a fan of Maika Monroe like me, you have probably checked out 2022's thriller Watcher. Monroe is most known for her role in It Follows and the anticipated sequel, They Follow but her acting in Watcher outshines the work she has done previously, at least in my opinion. Watcher is directed by Chloe Okuno who also directed V/H/S 94, both can be streamed on Shudder.
Watcher is about a young married couple Julia and Francis, who move to Bucharest for Francis’ job. Francis is gone for long hours of the day leaving Julia to her own devices as she has no job and is isolated by only speaking English. She wanders the city but mostly spends her time in their new apartment. Julia quickly notices a man across the way who continuously stares out the window directly into her room. One night as Francis and Julia walk the street they stumble upon a crime scene of a woman who was just murdered. Julia is unsettled by this and realizes there were multiple murders which can be tied to the serial killer, “The Spider.” Julia notices that not only does the man across the street watch her but he follows her to the movies and the supermarket. Her concerns for her own safety are brushed off not only by the police but also her husband, Francis. The situation intensifies when her neighbor Irina goes missing and Julia knows that the watcher at the window is to blame. However, the watcher confronts her for watching right back, claiming she’s the one watching and following him.
Julia spends the majority of the movie trying to convince anyone around her to believe her and to take her concerns seriously. Julia knows that the watcher is also “The Spider,” but she has to do the investigation all on her own. This leads Julia into an extremely dangerous scene where she can finally confront the watcher and serve justice all on her own.
What this movie does well is the portrayal of female victims and the lack of urgency by people in power. Oftentimes when women have concerns about men following and watching them it can go ignored by police and even people that are considered trustworthy. Julia is constantly telling her husband how deeply uncomfortable she is and yet he continues to belittle her and make her feel crazy. As someone watching the movie you can’t help but feel Julia’s frustration and anger at everyone around her. Watcher touches on how difficult it is to report suspicious behavior and to be taken seriously as a woman.
The issue I have with this movie is the lack of originality, this movie follows a thriller formula without any surprises. Watcher is slow paced and highly predictable, leaving very little room for innovation. I still enjoyed this movie for what it was and I was impressed by the acting from both Maika Monroe (Julia) and Burn Gorman (the watcher). I would still suggest this movie to thriller fans!