There are few feelings more primal than the spine-tingling suspicion that you’re being watched. Nobody likes imagining prying eyes peering, possibly planning, as you try and survive a typical day. That’s the setup for IFC’s newest thriller Watcher. Currently rocking an 82% on Rotten Tomatoes, this full-length feature debut is more than the sum of its story beats. It’s an exercise in how to tell a story. Opulent and ominous, Watcher premiered at the 2022 Sundance to strong reception that saw IFC and Shudder–both AMC-owned–partner to bring the film to theaters and screens across North America. Critics celebrated the direction by Chloe Okuno (V/H/S/ ‘94, “Storm Drain” segment) and the leading performance by Maika Monroe (It Follows). For more about Watcher, peep the details below.
There have been two trailers released for Watcher. The first, a nearly two-minute teaser, was released on March 15, 2022. This was followed by a full-length trailer released on April 28, 2022, which you can check out below:
What Is Watcher About?
Watcher’s eerie trailer is accompanied by the description:
As a serial killer stalks the city, Julia – a young actress who just moved to town with her boyfriend – notices a mysterious stranger watching her from across the street in this terrifying thriller.
Director Chloe Okuno gifted horror fans one of their favorite mascots in recent memory in Raatma. Raatma is a subterranean deity in one of the best and creepiest segments for the most recent installment in the V/H/S franchise–hail Raatma. Like Storm Drain, Okuno’s filmography consists of shorts, but she’s already got two projects in pre-production (The Dating Game, Rodney & Sheryl) as she awaits Watcher’s theatrical release.
When Is Watcher Coming Out?
Watcher hits theaters across North America on June 3, 2022.
Who Is in the Cast of Watcher?
As previously described, Maika Monroe stars as Julia. Julia moves to Romania with her husband, Francis. She doesn’t speak the language, she doesn’t know the city, she doesn’t know anyone. Julia notices a shaded figure standing, seemingly always staring, through the window across the street.
Monroe is no stranger to being stalked in cinema. Her breakout performance in It Follows saw her endlessly pursued by a plodding supernatural being. After starring in The Guest, It Follows, Tau, Villains, The Stranger, and Watcher, her resume reads in part like a horror fan’s hand-picked list of stylish and scary stories. Collider’s own Perri Nemiroff spoke with Maika Monroe following Watcher’s premiere at Sundance, and she recapped her relationship with the horror genre,
I grew up loving old classic horror movies, watching A Nightmare on Elm Street and The Shining, probably way too young, but there was just something about it. Unlike other movies, you always have such a visceral reaction to the genre. That was very intriguing to me. And then I ended up becoming an actor and ended up doing a movie called It Follows. That — not to gloat about it — but I think that film was the beginning of a change of the horror genre and kind of going back to its original roots of The Shining and [John] Carpenter. And so I think since that time there’s just been so many incredible genre films coming out, and so many people involved with the genre. So, for whatever reason, I just keep coming back! Especially with this script, I just fell in love with it.
Monroe’s versatility seems only matched by her passion, and both elements are on full display in her newest feature, Watcher.
Karl Glusman is Francis, Julia’s husband. Glusman carved out a career working with auteurs from across the world. He starred in Nocturnal Animals, Devs, Love, Lux Æterna, and The Neon Demon. Glusman slides into the skin of his roles, sometimes to terrifying effect. While Watcher is the Maika Monroe show, Glusman always finds a way to make an impact with his contributions to the work.
Tiny spoiler ahead, so skip this paragraph if spoilers are of major concern, but the watcher himself is played by Burn Gorman. Gorman is a seasoned industry veteran with decades of experience, but he broke through to mainstream audiences with villainous performances in The Dark Rises and Game of Thrones as well as a charming turn as the straight-man across from Charlie Day in Pacific Rim.
Will Watcher Be Available on Streaming?
Despite in part being distributed by Shudder, Watcher won’t be released on the streaming platform alongside its theatrical debut. We already know which titles are coming to Shudder throughout June, and Watcher is nowhere to be seen–for now.
Watcher was produced by Image Nation and Spooky Pictures, and it was acquired for distribution by IFC Midnight and Shudder. IFC started as the Independent Film Channel, but now the film distributor operates under two verticles: IFC Films and IFC Midnight. IFC Midnight is the genre film arm of the distributor responsible for fan favorites The Autopsy of Jane Doe, The Babadook, and Baskin, among many others. IFC President Arriana Bocco spoke in praise of director Chloe Okuno’s work in a press release following the acquisition of the film saying,
Chloe Okuno’s exceptional vision uses horror and thriller elements in a masterful way that will resonate with any person looking for a singular cinematic experience, even further emboldened by a star-turning performance from Maika Monroe. We’re honored to introduce Chloe’s stunning feature debut Watcher to audiences across North America, announcing her as a director to watch.
Her sentiments were echoed by Shudder’s General Manager, Craig Engler:
We’ve been huge fans of Chloe Okuno’s since her short film days and were lucky to have her direct one of the most popular segments of our hit movie V/H/S/ ‘94, which premiered to record numbers last year. We’re delighted to be working with her again on Watcher, which is a brilliant and tense film with a breakout performance from Maika Monroe, and we can’t wait for Shudder members to see it.
For more movies like Watcher, check out one of Maika Monroe’s most popular films, It Follows, or check out these unnerving titles: One Hour Photo, The Invisible Man, Hush, Censor, The Night House, or Malignant. Each title gets successively more bizarre, so expect a wild ride once Malignant starts playing.
Check out Watcher in theaters starting June 3, and keep your eyes on Shudder–Watcher is bound to wind up there when it’s done scaring audiences from the silver screen.
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