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A newlywed woman in a foreign city gets the jitters that a suspicious neighbor is following her. Watcher is an ambiguous, gloomy thriller. In her solitude, the heroine becomes paranoid. Her husband is always busy at work. She has nothing to do with herself in this strange place she hardly knows. What if that grim figure at the window spies on all Julia’s moves? Are these steps behind? The story uses fear as a slow-acting poisonessknife. Watcher will keep you reading until a very disappointing ending. You would think it loses its punch after such an excellent beginning.

Julia (Maika Monroe) and Francis (Karl Glusman) leave America for Bucharest Romania when Francis lands a new job there. The apartment where they start living is quite large and spacious despite being housed within one of those old buildings in Bucharest. Julia doesn’t speak Romanian yet tries to learn whenever she gets some free time by herself at home during daylight hours only. Across the road from her place lives this man, who she believes constantly watches her through the window of his own house (Burn Gorman). Also, there have been several unresolved murders going on in town already causing tension amongst its residents and we were left questioning whether or not these crimes are connected.

All along, Julia cannot bear constant watching from this man next door.A shock comes over her once he begins to follow her around.Francis attempts to resolve it with him.Julia does not believe he trusts her.Paranoid Julia proceeds to investigate further on what she suspects could be stalking behavior by another person.Her view differs according to Francis’.She has just let go of herself.Julia thinks she may be crazy.However, isn’t it possible that she was jumping to conclusions or perhaps being stalked by something evil?

Screenwriter/Director Chloe Okuno makes her feature-film debut drawing from Hitchcock’s style.Most of the action occurs in the apartment.Julia’s loneliness is a source of struggle.The man across the street becomes a forbidding presence to her.Every knock at the door makes her jump.Her inability to communicate effectively increases the tension.Okuno cleverly employs shadows, light and subtle sounds.The story slowly becomes more intense.

The film rests on Monroe’s shoulders. It is all seen from Julia’s perspective.She tries to make friends but she doesn’t fit in with his workmates.Few scenes happen without dialogue.Her understanding that something isn’t right is silent.Monroe’s reactions are crucial here.She even manages to show this when Julia takes over approach.

Emmy-nominated composer Nathan Halpern (The Rider, Swallow) deserves sizable credit for establishing a suspenseful mood. His score serves as an integral part of her emotional decline. As anxiety mounts, Halpern’s notes linger. The music then picks up speed as the second act takes shape. Julia feels resolution in terms of rhythm change. Halpern adds pressure at key moments.

The end of Watcher is displeasing. The first two acts are nothing compared to what happens later on when everything ends so abruptly.Okuno suddenly runs out of ideas just before the climax.This does not completely ruin it but comes damn near.I was really looking forward to it and I was really disappointed by it.

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