Watcher (2022) – Movie Review
Written and directed by Chloé Okuno.
With Maika Monroe, Karl Glusman, Burn Gorman, Tudor Petruț, Gabriela Butuc, Madalina Anea, Cristina Deleanu, Daniel Nuta, Ioana Abur, Flaviu Crisan and Florian Ghimpu.
As a citywide panic brews over a possible serial killer on the loose, Julia – a young actress who has just moved to town with her husband – notices a mysterious stranger watching her from the other side. side of the street.
Maika Monroe is consistently excellent at expressing anxiety and paranoia in the stalking subgenre (whether it’s something supernatural in one of the biggest horror movies of the 2010s, It followsor even schlock campy like Greta), so she serves as the anchor for director Chloe Okuno’s (who appears to have reworked a Zack Ford script) debut film (with some credits to her name, including V/H/S/94 storm sewer segment) Observer is a straightforward casting choice.
The film sees Julia (Monroe) travel to Bucharest with her businessman husband, Francis (Karl Glusman), and set up a luxurious apartment there. Immediately, viewers are immersed in Julia’s foreign perspective, without subtitles, unable to understand the Romanian dialogue. Things also get weird as Benjamin Kirk Nielsen’s cinematography veers away voyeuristically as Julia and Francis make love for the first time in their new home. The next day, Francis goes to work, leaving Julia alone to study the Romanian language and attempt basic actions like ordering coffee from a local store. She also makes a few friends, including the bilingual Irina (Madalina Anea), while getting to know other neighbors and residents.
Julia also notices a figure watching her from the adjacent building. Rightly surprised, especially given recent reports of a serial killer murdering young women, she feels smothered and like a potential target. She also feels validated by meeting a strange man (creepy played by Burn Gorman) too often to be considered a coincidence. Even if he’s not the killer, there’s definitely something wrong with this silent, seemingly empty man (and it’s hard not to feel like the movie ends just when he does). becomes intriguing to explore his motivations). The scenes between Maika Monroe and Burn Gorman would be almost unbearably tense to watch based on their performances alone, but the closeness of the camera to Julia heightens that feeling of claustrophobia and impending doom. You feel this panic attack right next to Julia.
Francis disagrees with the situation. He’s willing to entertain Julia’s uncomfortable feelings but doesn’t treat her experiences as legitimate signs of endangerment. He becomes more and more agitated and begins to take advantage of the language barrier to make fun of her in front of his co-workers. As a result, Irina is the loyal and supportive companion here, asking a controversial but reasonable question regarding harassment and whether or not it’s worth justifying. Whatever the answer, Irina believes Julia. And thanks to Irina’s work as an underground club dancer, used to being ogled, she gives Julia a burst of courage to overcome this oppression and face these fears.
Observer is definitely a film about winning, as involving and superbly crafted as the film. The storyline wants to say something about the consequences of men not listening to women or taking their concerns seriously, with an ending to pound this merciless house. However, for such a pleasantly grounded and terrifying character study, the final moments of Observer developing cold feet and backtracking on its message (which hurts doubly bad, coming from some nasty and disturbing symmetrical imagery that could be read a number of ways), preferring a crowd-pleasing ending. It doesn’t seem like the right choice for this particular story, but Observer worth watching.
Scintillating Myth Rating – Movie: ★ ★ ★ / Movie: ★ ★ ★
Robert Kojder is a member of the Chicago Film Critics Association and the Critics Choice Association. He is also the editor of Flickering Myth Reviews. Check here for new reviews, follow my Twitter or Letterboxd, or email me at [email protected]