Monday 27 May 2024

Watcher - 2022 film review

I've never been to Bucharest and although I'd like to go, there's nothing in Watcher, a 2022 film set in the city, that does any favours to the local tourist trade. In this story, a young American couple move to Rumania because the husband, Francis (Karl Glusman) is relocated by his employers. His wife Julia (Maika Monroe, who was also in that strong suspense film Greta) has a lot of time on her hands.

Julia becomes aware that a man in the block of flats opposite hers is watching her from his window. This is creepy enough, but a serial killer is also at work in the city, targeting women. Things go from bad to worse when Julia becomes aware that the watcher has followed her into a cinema and then into a mini-market. 

On one occasion, Julia waves to the man - not a good idea, surely? - and he waves back. She tells her husband what is happening, but he is less than sympathetic. A female neighbour, Irina, seems able to offer more meaningful support, but she is being bothered by a troublesome ex, and eventually she disappears from her flat.

Tension builds slowly in Watcher, but at least it does build. Maika Monroe gives a strong performance, although the storyline becomes much more predictable than I'd hoped. The New York Times called this film 'one of this century's most arresting tales of female anxiety' and although I think this level of praise is over the top, I do think that Watcher, despite its lack of pace, is very...watchable.  

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