Plot, Cast, & Everything Else We Know

A new stalker thriller is set to hit theaters this summer, and the trailer and reviews seem to indicate it will not disappoint fans. Watcher is the feature directorial debut film for Chloe Okuno, and she definitely has taken some inspiration from the master of suspense himself, Alfred Hitchcock. While parts of the trailer are reminiscent of Rear Window and Psychothere is a sense that Okuno has brought some modernity to the timeless Hitckcockian tropes.

Watcher is set primarily as a first-person point of view narrative where the audience experiences the events of the film from the protagonist Julie’s perspective. Julie has followed her husband Francis to Bucharest, Romania, as he begins a new job. In their new apartment, Julie notices a man from another building staring out his window and seemingly into theirs. Being in a foreign country where she does not speak the language with a husband who feels she is simply suffering from paranoia, a perfect storm of tension brews as the film builds suspense, and Julie determines if this voyeur just may be more than that.


Let’s dive into everything we know about the film so far!

The Plot

The official teaser trailer opens with what we assume is one of the first scenes of the film, the scene that establishes Julie’s sense of dread and paranoia, setting the rest of the film’s events into motion. Julie is seen waking up from what appears to be a light and restless slumber. She walks to a massive window in the bedroom of her apartment, and she looks out into the rainy and brooding streets of Romania. As she scans the building next to hers, she sees the silhouette of a man in a window. He appears to be staring directly at her. The tension is broken when her husband, Francis, inquires, “Can’t sleep?”

The trailer jumps to the next morning when Julie tells her husband of the strange voyeur, but he does not seem overly concerned. It proceeds with flashes from the film of shadowy figures lurking mixed with close-ups of Julie’s face looking increasingly more scared and on-edge. The suspense builds until a woman’s scream is heard and a body is dragged off a bloody bed. The final scene of the trailer shows Julie walking down the hallway toward her apartment, calm and collected. As she approaches the door, it’s wide open, stopping her in her tracks. As she slowly advances and peers in the open door, a shadowy silhouette standing right inside the door stares broodingly at her.

The Cast

IFC Midnight

The film’s main protagonist, Julie, is played by Maika Monroe. The California-born actress first had aspirations to be an athlete as a professional kite-boarder, but acting, particularly in the thriller / horror genre, has called her name. Horror fans will remember Monroe from her roles in The Guest and the cult favorite It Follows about a demonic STD. While many consider Monroe to be a modern-day “scream queen,” she has stated publicly that she does not embrace that moniker.

Julie’s dubious husband is played by Karl Glusman. He was born in the Bronx in New York City, but he spent most of his formative years in Portland, Oregon. Glusman is perhaps best known for his main role in the movie Love, a salacious and titillating film. Like his Watcher co-star Monroe, he will also be recognized by horror buffs as he played in the very artistically grotesque Neon Demon.

Related: Maika Monroe Wants to Do It Follows 2 Just to Work with Director David Robert Mitchell Again

The last of the main characters in Watcher is none other than the titular character and alleged stalker played by Burn Gorman. While he was born in Hollywood, California, he was raised in the United Kingdom and considered a British actor. Gorman is known for playing cold and devious roles, and judging from what we know so far about this film, including the watcher’s menacing and eerie stare from the window, he will be playing into that typecast again.

Film Festivals & Release Date

Maika Monroe in Watcher
IFC Midnight

Watcher first premiered at Sundance Film Festival in January of this year. Due to the winter surge of Covid-19, the festival was held remotely. This is an unfortunate set of circumstances, especially for a thriller. Much of the personal tension one feels when watching the film is enhanced by the palpable shared tension in a crowded theater. The film was also shown during the South by Southwest Film Festival and Sun Valley Film Festival in March and is set to be shown at the Cleveland International Film Festival and Seattle International Film Festival in April.

Watcher is scheduled for release in theaters nationwide on June 3, 2022.

Early Reviews

Maika Monroe in Watcher
IFC Midnight

Overall, the film has garnered mostly favorable reviews, which is a feat considering thriller / horror films are not traditionally embraced by a majority of critics. In fact, eight of the nine top critics gave the Watcher positive marks. Perhaps one of the best reviews comes from Tomris Laffly at Harper’s Bazaar, who writes, “Left with no resources but her own intuition, Monroe’s Romanian expat navigates a foreign town, dismissive mansplainers, and obstructive language barriers to fend for her own life in a stunning gaslighting whodunit, against a blood-curdling villain for the ages . ” The latter part of this flattering quote was ingeniously placed in the trailer.

Related: 10 Best Alfred Hitchcock Films, Ranked

The one negative review from top critic Susannah Gruder at IndieWire graded Watcher with an average C +. One of her main complaints about the film is that she feels it does not deliver on its promise of tension and fear. “Watcher spells out every plot point to a tee, when we wish it would slowly, playfully tug at the threads of our anxieties, “Gruder writes.


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