Movie Review: The Watcher

By: Christina Barraza

Movie: The Watcher
Directed: Ryan Rothmaier
Starring: Erin Cahill (Emma), Edi Gathegi (Noah)
Released: 2016
Rating: 2.5 out of 5 screams

It knows where you live...

The Watcher begins with Emma (Erin Cahill) and Noah (Edi Gathegi), a young, hopeful couple that has just moved from the East Coast to L.A. in order to settle into a new life and forget the events of the past. Thinking that their dream home is the perfect start, they purchase a home in a seemingly quiet neighborhood. They befriend their neighbors, an older woman, Jeanne and her son, Mikey. Unfortunately for them, this is a horror film and all dream homes come with an eerie price. 

Their price? A stalker who calls himself The Raven. The couple begins receiving threatening letters and packages left on their front porch with messages that read the couple is being watched, along with details about their home i.e. that the house has an illness inside the walls.

If this is beginning to sound familiar it’s because The Watcher is inspired by events that happened to a family living in New Jersey in June 2014. Three days after they purchased the home, the family began receiving letters from someone who claimed to be the Watcher. Much like the film, whoever was writing the letters knew details about the home as well as the children who lived there. Like most films inspired by true events, however, there are many liberties taken.

The Watcher plays out almost exactly how you would imagine once Emma and Noah begin to unravel the mystery of their home with the help of their friends and neighbors. 

The film flows nicely into an ending that doesn’t quite seem to fit, but I don’t necessarily mind.  I enjoyed that the film steered clear of an easy trope – the one where the female lead experiences all the terrible things in their home while the male lead is oblivious to what’s going on – at least for the most part. It was refreshing to see that the couple were not the only ones involved in the story.  

Unfortunately, there was a lingering sense of phoniness between the friendships in this film. The Watcher definitely had its share of creepy moments that have you guessing whether or not what the family was experiencing in the house was the work of some stalker or something supernatural.

 While the story felt too familiar and typical, I think The Watcher is a great film to watch when you’re looking for something light and slightly chilling. 

If you have the time or interest, I definitely recommend doing a quick search of the true story. Now, that is terrifying.

Perhaps it's your home that's being watched.

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