Review by Paris Jade
Chloe Okuno's debut film Watcher comes with a chilling, eerie story of a woman and her boyfriend moving to a new town and realizing she's being watched while a serial killer walks the streets.
The film is very ominous throughout its entirety. It brings a '70s horror style to it, almost like Halloween. The stalker feel of Michael Myers can be easily compared to this movie, and it's pulled off in a great way, whether done on purpose or not. At first, it seems that the main character is spiraling into paranoia. It could be due to being in a new place where barely anyone knows English, but it is later proven that her paranoia may actually be warranted.
However, that does not mean it is a very entertaining film. It's very tough to stay focused and keep an interest in any of the characters, especially the protagonist, Julia (Maika Monroe). Her relationship with Francis (Karl Glusman) is a bit bland as well, and for the most part, he doesn't even seem that interested in his own girlfriend. This is only for the first half of the movie, at which point things take a quick turn, and it starts to get interesting. If you think you can make it through the first half, then it is absolutely worth seeing for the merits of the next half. Still, the amount of paranoia Julia experiences and how it is entirely disregarded by the man in her life will leave a bad taste in your mouth and doesn't make you feel for him or even her. As you watch her be preyed on, you can't help but want the suspense to be over and get on with it already.
Regarding the actual direction of the film, Okuno does a great job, allowing it to work exceptionally well as a feature debut. It has a few weak spots, but for a debut, it leads you to wonder what more she could do in the future. The cinematography, again, definitely takes from John Carpenter's Halloween, which isn't a complaint at all. It's well done and easily the best thing about this film. If you are looking for something that can bring you back to a classic horror feel and are okay with sitting through a bit of simple suspense, then Watcher is going to scratch that itch.
Watcher is now playing in theaters.