Chloe Okuno’s Watcher follows Julia (Maika Monroe) who joins her husband, Francis (Karl Glusman), when he relocates to his family’s native Romania for a new job. Unable to speak the language and stuck at home with nothing to fill the time, the feeling that she’s being watched becomes debilitating.

Watcher opens on Julia sitting in a taxi staring out at the city as it’s being reflected on the window, a shot we’ve seen a hundred times before. But windows are not just to look out of, but to allow other people to look in, and the camera makes the audience one of those onlookers watching Julia, making us grapple with the fact that we’re all voyeurs. Windows give us a glimpse into the lives of other people which breeds this perverted curiosity to fill the loneliness in our own lives.

This is a stylish thriller from Okuno that suffers from the overall story lacking originality–with the obvious comparisons to Hitchcock–where each event becomes predictable and the twists seem forced and take too long to arrive, thus feeling anticlimactic. But the solid performances elevate these factors; Gorman is chilling opposite Monroe, who is crucial in setting Watcher apart, as she embodies a terror that every woman has felt before. It’s subtle, but we can see the tension building through her body language and the desperation on her face as she tries to remain calm in order to be taken seriously. 

As Watcher puts us in Julia’s shoes, we feel the same frustration that she feels when this tension is released and she demands, “you think I’m crazy?” while all around her she’s being dismissed. What makes this subject matter truly horrific is knowing that women experience different levels of this fear every day, women who just want to be believed. 



CAST: Maika Monroe, Karl Glusman, Burn Gorman

DIRECTOR: Chloe Okuno

WRITER: Zack Ford

SYNOPSIS: Julia joins her husband when he relocates to his family’s native Romania for a new job and finds herself frequently alone and unoccupied.