May 30, 2022

GENRE | Maika Monroe Watches the 'Watcher'

"Do I just sound paranoid?"
Maika Monroe Burn Gorman Chloe Okuno | Watcher
IFC Midnight / Shudder
Feminist horror filmmaker Chloe Okuno makes her feature directorial debut with the stylish throwback of a chilling psychological thriller, Watcher, starring Maika Monroe as an isolated American living in Bucharest in fear of a local serial killer on the loose just as she feels constantly stalked and watched by a shadowy sinister neighbour.

Monroe's expat Julia moves to the Romanian capital with her newlywed husband Francis (Karl Glusman) as her inability to speak the native language only further heightens her sense of isolation. She wanders the unfamiliar streets of Bucharest to combat a sense of foreignness but is soon paralyzed by fear when she realizes she's under surveillance.

Written by Okuno based on Zack Ford's screenplay, the screenwriters use the foreign setting of an unknown Eastern European city to rachet the sense of moody tension and paranoia mined from a vulnerable woman simply walking the streets alone at night. So much of the slowly revealing story revolves around others simply believing her or not when she tells them her fears about being watched and followed.

Okuno crafts Watcher into a fresh yet tightly-packed outsider psychodrama. There's an atmospheric sense of foreboding suspense reminiscent of the classic 1970s paranoid thriller genre. Monroe's measured yet unsettling performance heightens the slow burn film's chilly stalker thrills deftly.

Watcher screens at the Rio Theatre on June 7th and 12th.


More | AIPT / AWFJ / Indiewire / Slashfilm

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