Maybe he just wants to be friends. In Chloe Okuno’s feature-length debut, Maika Monroe is stalked by a creepy neighbor–or at least she thinks she is being stalked by a creepy neighbor–to satisfying results.
The immensely watchable Monroe, best known for the terrific horror-thrillers It Follows and The Guest, is terrific once again as an isolated wife in the incredibly tense Watcher. Isolated emotionally from her husband, and isolated linguistically from her neighbors, an American living in Romania, she is a one-woman force. At times strong, others terrified, Monroe’s performance elevates the material, which is a relatively straightforward stalker drama done extremely well.
At a highly efficient 91 minutes, Watcher is lean and mean in all the right ways. Okunu opts to hold back at every turn, relying on sideways glances and a threat just off screen or out of focus. Is she paranoid, or is her gut telling her the truth? You’re never quite sure, but you’re pretty sure that either way Okunu is going to stick the landing. And she does.
Beautifully shot and atmospheric beyond belief, Watcher is a taut, superbly made thriller that makes the most of its story and actors. While the story itself may not be profound, it’s one of the best stalker movies of the last decade.
This movie was reviewed as part of our coverage of the 2022 Sundance Film Festival.
Review by Erik Samdahl unless otherwise indicated.