“The Watcher” Review and Ending Explained!
The Watcher Review: Anyone who has read the incredible true story “The Watcher” will remember it. The story of 657 Boulevard, a Westfield, New Jersey address that was stalked by a mysterious visitor, was published in November 2018 in New York Magazine.
Derek Broaddus and his wife Maria acquired their dream home in 2014, but soon after moving in, they began getting strange, threatening messages. The writer of the letters was evidently aware of the Broadduses’ home and lives, including intimate information that indicated he or she was keeping an eye on the residence.
Lines like “Do you know what lurks inside the walls of 657 Boulevard?” and “Do you need to fill the house with the young blood I requested?” understandably frightened the Broaddus. You may spend hours researching who delivered the messages online, or you can spend seven minutes with Ryan Murphy and Ian Brennan and their highly fictitious version of this strange narrative, which is tonally adrift and obscure the impossible-to-believe events rather than clarifying them.
There are so many themes that might be unpacked via the intricacies of “The Watcher’s” genuine narrative, but Murphy and his team don’t believe the facts, creating more and more ludicrous twists with each episode until the whole thing crumbles under any suspension of disbelief. They’re not interested in character, mood, or anything else other than a steady stream of twists because they believe that momentum is the only thing that will keep people… watching.
“The Watcher” is the type of stuff that would have been a Network TV Movie of the Week in the 1970s or 1980s, thus it’s now a Netflix original series. And this one comes from Ryan Murphy, one of TV’s most prolific creators, following the triumph of “Dahmer – Monster: The Jeffrey Dahmer Story” and providing his fans another spooky season treat before “American Horror Story: NYC” next week.
Murphy and his colleagues, on the other hand, have lost their humor and campy enthusiasm. When compared to Murphy’s enormous franchise launcher, “American Horror Story: Murder House,” this should feel like a continuation of that first season, as it is once again about an ordinary family who moves into a cursed house (although no rubber men in this one).
Yet, in comparison, this endeavor falls far short, failing to recognize the risk in its subject matter. Despite flashes of escapist humor, it’s an exercise in overwriting rather than anything that reaches for the spooky, unnerving instability that used to characterize Murphy’s best work.
The Broaddus has been recast as Nora (Naomi Watts) and Dean Brannock (Bobby Cannavale), who move into 657 Boulevard with two children instead of the original Broaddus three—but that’s only the beginning of dozens of modifications to the genuine story. (Just a heads-up that nearly none of this happened.)
I don’t mind when writers use a factual story to create something artistically intriguing, but “The Watcher” just continues expanding and expanding, adding more room to this TV story in a haphazard and frequently unneeded manner.
Almost all of those twists and turns are provided by a sluggish exposition dump from a private investigator named Theodora Birch, played unconvincingly by Noma Dumezweni, who is stuck somewhere between serious mystery and camp.
She assists the Brannocks in identifying potential “Watcher Suspects.” Is it the nosy neighbors (Margo Martindale and Richard Kind) who are sending the notes? What about the
The first two episodes of “The Watcher” set it up almost as a play on “The Shining” or “The Amityville Horror” (as it should be), in that it’s more about the disintegration of a patriarch than a genuine, physical threat.
“Dad, can you keep us safe?” asks the youngest Brannock, and Cannavale portrays Dean’s crumbling faith in his unconvincing response. It’s an intriguing take on a true story in that it becomes about vulnerability, particularly the kind that undermines established masculine roles.
Dean is struggling at work and is unable to gratify or defend his wife. He discovers that the other male residents of 657 Boulevard had comparable tragedies, one of which resulted in the extermination of a family.
The implication is that the typical suburban homeowner’s stability is dangerously weak, capable of destroying a family if examined too thoroughly.
However, like with so much in “The Watcher” and much of Murphy’s recent work, these concepts are simply tossed out there with no thought behind them, and then set aside for a slew of other notions like Satanism, infidelity, hidden tunnels, and, well, home fetishization communicated through poetry (yes, seriously).
Murphy has always been a provocateur, but his artistic focus appears to have been dispersed by his workload, resulting in a quantity-over-quality style.
The genuine story of “The Watcher” is disturbing because it delves into fundamental fears. Everyone wants to feel comfortable in their own houses. We all want to be able to assure our children that we will safeguard them. And, especially in this day and age of genuine crime hysteria, we’re probably all a little more concerned about what’s going on in our neighbors’ houses.
What exactly are they up there? And why are they always staring out the window? All of these ideas or widely held anxieties may have been applied to the story of 657 Boulevard, but “The Watcher” was created by people who do not trust their audience. They got you to watch, but they didn’t take the time to build something memorable.