REVIEW “The Watcher: A Tangled Thriller That Misses its Mark”

In the realm of suspenseful tales, the concept of a mysterious antagonist lurking within the confines of one’s own home has always captivated audiences. However, with the release of Netflix’s series “The Watcher,” creator Ryan Murphy takes a misstep, veering away from the potential of a gripping thriller that was handed to him on a silver platter.

What is “The Watcher” About?

“The Watcher” is based on a true story that unfolded in 2014 and revolves around the Brannock family, portrayed by Naomi Watts and Bobby Cannavale as Nora and Dean. Eager to escape the chaos of New York City, they invest their savings in their dream house located in a picturesque American suburb. Soon after settling in, they become the target of anonymous letters signed by an enigmatic figure known as “The Watcher.” As the letters intensify, filled with personal details about their children and an unsettling obsession with the family’s planned renovations, the Brannocks find themselves trapped in a web of fear and paranoia.


The Struggle with Genre Identity:

One of the show’s downfalls lies in Murphy’s attempt to expand the universe of “The Watcher” beyond its means, leaving it confused about its own genre. The introduction of eccentric neighbors, peculiar community members, and a series of distracting subplots muddle the central storyline. With elements reminiscent of Murphy’s other works like “American Horror Story” and “American Crime Story,” the series struggles to find its footing and falls short of fully exploring the potential of its own premise.

Repetitive Plot Structure:

As the story progresses, Nora and Dean suspect various individuals within their community of being “The Watcher.” In their pursuit of justice, they take matters into their own hands, embarking on a makeshift investigation with the help of a private investigator character named Theodora, played by Noma Dumezweni. Unfortunately, the repetitive cycle of each episode, where a suspect is identified and subsequently cleared, becomes a tiresome pattern. The narrative lacks originality and fails to maintain the audience’s interest.

Engaging Performances Amidst the Chaos:

Despite its shortcomings, “The Watcher” does have its merits. The standout performances of Bobby Cannavale and Naomi Watts as the spiraling husband and determined wife, respectively, bring depth and complexity to their characters. As fear engulfs their lives, their portrayals resonate with viewers, keeping them engaged amidst the convoluted plot.

A Lackluster Culmination:

Ultimately, “The Watcher” suffers from an overload of distractions that prevent it from fully utilizing the source material’s potential. The series leaves numerous loose ends and fails to deliver a satisfying conclusion, leaving viewers and the Brannocks adrift in a sea of unresolved dread. Rather than leading the audience through a trail of clues, the show opts for cheap misdirection, resulting in a lackluster ending for a true crime drama that could have been so much more.

Closing Remarks:

“The Watcher” streaming on Netflix offers a glimpse into the unsettling horrors of suburban life and showcases strong performances from its lead actors. However, its narrative missteps, repetitive plot structure, and failure to fully explore the source material’s possibilities leave much to be desired. While the show may attract attention due to Ryan Murphy’s involvement, it ultimately falls short of becoming a memorable addition to the thriller genre.