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  • Writer's pictureStrictly Films

Watcher (2022 Sundance Film Festival); Grade: B

Strictly Films welcomes you back to more coverage of this years 2022 Sundance Film Festival! Our next film on the block: Watcher.

Watcher tells a story about an engaged couple by the name of Julia (Maika Monroe) and Francis (Karl Glusman) whom move to Romania where Francis not only originated from there, but also has a grand new job opportunity there. Julia though gets acquainted with the condo complex, landlord, and some neighbors whom barely speak English, however Julia is heavily paranoid in the fact she feels she’s being watched across the way. Not only does Julia feel she’s being watched across her complex, she also feels watched and followed multiple times, whether it be at a grocery store, at the movies, or just out and about in the streets. Is Julia being watched by someone?

Watcher can be described as a traditional slow burn kind of film. As we watch Julia encounter the assumption she’s being watched by someone, as the audience we’re curious to know if the person watching Julia is real, perhaps maybe paranormal, or maybe it’s all in Julia’s head?! The way it presents itself is kind of spooky, you’re kind of intrigued in what exactly is watching her. You can also say Watcher as a horror film can be a scary experience, in the fact all this is happening in a foreign land where Julia is not well equipped with the language or with the laws of the land. It can be an immense challenge for Julia to communicate to other people with regards for seeking help, as truth be told in other lands this kind of ordeal may not be that major of a problem, so in a horror sense it was effective as well.

The story at hand is pretty much by the standards, as we’re patiently waiting to uncover what exactly is watching Julia and why are they watching her in the first place?! I felt the location at hand played a major part in keeping the story engaging, because while we’re following along with Julia, we’re also having an experience with the country of Romania. The scenery and all t’was lovely and unique, as I felt it helped made a small significant impact towards the story at hand. I will say the final twenty or so minutes was a very satisfying ending for a slow burn, that felt heavily rewarded. I’m kind of mixed about the reveal, on one hand I dig the fact it almost played the audience mind into believing this was a big misunderstanding, however what bothered me was the camera focusing on one particular object that pretty much gave clarification and no longer was much of a mystery. Still the final twenty minutes t’was intense, disturbing, and well done.

Maika Monroe and Karl Glusman both delivered solid performances delivering solid chemistry together, however I was more impressed with Burn Gorman as though he had a small yet significant role… He was excellent in his screen time, especially in the last thirty minutes as he was pretty unsettling.

Overall, Watcher was solid. I recommend checking this one out, especially if you like Slow Burns. -Mitch Smietana

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