The Watcher review: An ode to a house
Not every Friday will you get a series dropping on an OTT which is not only worth binge-watching but also will command some brain-racking from the viewers. ‘The Watcher’ on Netflix is just that.
Based on a shockingly true story, ‘The Watcher’ does a wonderful job of proving the adage ‘facts are stranger than fiction’ true. Even as we are glued to this seven-part adapted series, it sends shivers down our spine that someone, some family actually lived through it. Probably even today they are.
The Brannocks move into a tony suburb which they think is paradise. But soon their new abode, an over-century-old house, proves to be a nightmare for them. The dream house turns out to be a haunted house. Even the neighbors are weird. Nora (Naomi Watts) and Dean Brannock (Bobby Cannavale), and their two kids start receiving letters from one ‘The Watcher’ who welcomes them to the house and the neighborhood. But soon the tone of the typed letters sent in envelopes with hand-written addresses turns dark and threatening. This whodunit is about who the watcher is and why is he doing it.
‘The Watcher’ is not densely populated with characters. Here we have Mo and Big Mo, Pearl and Jasper, Karen and Theodora among others. Mia Farrow and Noma Dumezwani bring Pearl and Theodora to life with finesse. But the series really belongs to Bobby Cannavale followed by Naomi Watts. They are convincing throughout – as the proud owners of 657 Boulevard, Westfield, as scared parents, as a fighting couple, and as professionals who are going through their own problems, independently and together. A knock-out performance by the duo.
There are paranormal overtones in ‘The Watcher’ but in a palatable amount.
Right from the first episode, ‘The Watcher’ is a winner. Part spooky, part creepy. Ryan Murphy, the brain behind the series, succeeds in building tension with each episode. Every time you think you have found out who is sending these letters and what is the reason behind it comes a twist. As a viewer, you never lose interest though tight editing could have made the series tauter. However, at times ‘The Watcher’ stretches the concept of willing suspension of disbelief to its maximum bordering almost on absurdity.
The suspense is not revealed till the last episode. Even after the story ends, you keep thinking about it. It haunts you. Just like the occupants of 657 Boulevard were, or are.
This house is definitely worth a dekko.