It's all appropriately eerie and off-putting, but never quite as satisfying as it should be. Watching Watcher isn't a complete disappointment, but it sure would be nice if there was just a little more to look at.
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Watcher gives a feminist twist to a throwback genre, but never does its topicality dilute its gripping suspense.
Monroe does a lot to sustain what tension there is during the more perfunctory moments, delivering a seemingly effortless performance as a dejected young woman who approaches both her confusing new circumstances and the mystery that occupies her thoughts with calm and pragmatic patience, as well as curiosity.
Watcher flourishes as it complicates its premise beyond the unknowable and faceless desires of a shadowy silhouette.
[Okuno’s] made a smart, controlled movie of pricks and gestures and tones that accumulate into a satisfying catharsis. And perhaps validated the urge to follow your gut.
Watcher, if it has an agenda beyond being a fun, shivery, fish-out-of-water chiller, is not so much a manifesto to Believe All Women as it is a reminder to all women watching to at least believe ourselves.
In a genre movie climate marked by cheap thrills and easy scares — whatever gets us not to click on something else — it’s nice to see a film that sustains a strong ambiance of dread simply via someone looking out the window and shopping for groceries.
This classically styled thriller plays on universal themes of alienation to deliver a punchy diversion with macabre tints and a love of the genre.
Instead of leaning into the ambiguous tensions and uncanny experiences, Watcher fails to live up to its inspirations, ending up a heavy-handed, predictable trip through genre tropes with a rather lifeless cast at its core. Watcher spells out every plot point to a tee, when we wish it would slowly, playfully tug at the threads of our anxieties.
The film is led by Maika Monroe’s fragile performance, which grounds the story even when the proceedings start to become formulaic.