After a young couple purchases a house, they are threatened with
mysterious messages and attacked by someone who wants them out.
The Watcher (2016)
Written and Directed by Ryan Rothmaier
Starring Erin Cahill, Edi Gathegi, Denise Crosby, Riley Baron,
Kevin Daniels, Tracie Thomas, Obba Babatundé, Sab Shimono
The Watcher surprised me several times, which I think is always a mark of a good horror movie. However, it also commits a mortal filmmaking sin, which is to sacrifice quality for an intriguing twist. The third act of the film undoes the rest of the film's buildup and tension by attempting a final twist that makes zero sense and undermines everything else that had been, up to that moment, fairly decent. Its solid performances and unique take on the haunted house subgenre made it stand out to me, but the twist pretty much annihilated its chances.
Emma and Noah are a young couple who purchase their dream home only to be left threatening messages signed by someone who calls themselves "The Raven." While at first, the audience is led to believe this is a ghost or a possession, the more the characters learn about the house's history and the past owners, the more the audience begins to think the culprit is a human psychopath. The buildup to this revelation was well-written and didn't feel forced, with Denise Crosby of Dexter and The Walking Dead fame playing the culprit in typical psycho fashion. That was all well and good, until an additional twist that I won't mention here.
The Watcher isn't the most engaging horror movie ever made, nor does it do anything that really stands out, but it wasn't as terrible as it could've been. The twist does come from a place of originality, though it doesn't make a lick of sense. Still, compared to some of the other low-budget disasters I've watched from Netflix's horror section, The Watcher is far from the worst. Maybe writer/director Ryan Rothmaier will do better with his next project.