Arts & Reviews

Is The Watcher Really Worth A Watch?

By: Marisa Brown 

Photo courtesy of IMBd.com

To answer this question—yes, The Watcher is worth the watch. The Netflix Original series is currently ranked number 3 in Netflix’s Top 10 Hottest Shows for the past three weeks in a row.  After much anticipation, the show was released on October 13, 2022, and, according to Deadline, has since notched over 273.2M hours of viewing (Campione). The Watcher is a spine-chilling psychological thriller that will have you on the edge of your seat and looking over your shoulder for someone who isn’t there. The show has 7 episodes ranging from 44-52 minutes and stars Naomi Watts, Bobby Cannavale, and Jennifer Coolidge. 

The show is based on a real mystery that occurred in Westfield, New Jersey in June 2014. The Broaddus family, known as the Brannock family in the show, were the unfortunate owners of 657 Boulevard, the address of the home that the Watcher tormented. The Broadduses immediately fell in love with the home and quickly put in a winning offer. Before fully moving in, the family decided to do some renovations to the house. Three days after moving in, the Broaddus family received a letter from the Watcher and it read, 

Dearest new neighbor at 657 Boulevard, 

Allow me to welcome you to the neighborhood. How did you end up here? Did 657 Boulevard call to you with its force within? 657 Boulevard has been the subject of my family for decades now and as it approaches its 110th birthday, I have been put in charge of watching and waiting for its second coming. My grandfather watched the house in the 1920s and my father watched in the 1960s. It is now my time. Do you know the history of the house? Do you know what lies within the walls of 657 Boulevard? Why are you here? I will find out.  I see already that you have flooded 657 Boulevard with contractors so that you can destroy the house as it was supposed to be. Tsk, tsk, tsk … bad move. You don’t want to make 657 Boulevard unhappy. You have children. I have seen them. So far I think there are three that I have counted, are there more on the way? Do you need to fill the house with the young blood I requested? Better for me. Was your old house too small for the growing family? Or was it greed to bring me your children? Once I know their names I will call them and draw them to me. Who am I? There are hundreds and hundreds of cars that drive by 657 Boulevard each day. Maybe I am in one. Look at all the windows you can see from 657 Boulevard. Maybe I am in one. Look out any of the many windows in 657 Boulevard at all the people who stroll by each day. Maybe I am one. Welcome my friends, welcome. Let the party begin.

The Watcher”

Letter courtesy of thecut.com

Of course, this letter spooked the Broaddusses but they didn’t think much of it until the letters continued to come in, getting darker and more violent than the last. In the show, the Brannock family receives identical letters and, just like the Broaddusses, the Brannocks were on high alert, becoming suspicious of their neighbors and skeptical of their intentions. 

Despite being about the real Watcher case, The Watcher series differentiates in many ways in order to make it even creepier. In the show, the Brannock family lives next to a creepy cast of neighbors who they begin to suspect to be the Watcher themselves. Pearl and Jasper Winslow, played by Mia Farrow and Terry Kinney, are two of the creepiest neighbors. Pearl is a traditionalist, witchy woman who chastises the Brannock family for making interior renovations to the house and changing its apparent integrity. Jasper, who has selective mutism caused by a traumatic incident, is often found entering 657 Boulevard and hiding out in the dumbwaiter without the Brannocks knowing. Big Moe and Mitch, played by Margo Martindale and Richard Kind, are another couple of creeps. The two would sit in their front yard with binoculars just watching the Brannocks. When Dean Brannock, played by Bobby Cannavale, confronts them for their creeping and stalking, the two become defensive and aggressive toward him. The hostile, invasive, and harrowing nature of the neighbors add a new dimension to the already hair-raising story. Having them in the show makes the viewer start to question and suspect each and every one of the characters as the Watcher. 

As the show progresses and the Brannock family continues to try and uncover the identity of the Watcher, the story continues to get darker. New characters are introduced, throwing wrenches into theories about suspected perpetrators and altering the course of the investigation. With mysterious deaths, betrayals, and creepy characters, The Watcher lives up to its hype. While the series as a whole was quite entertaining and even had me looking over my back to make sure I was alone, the ending was severely dissatisfying. The series ends with the Brannocks moving back to New York and a new family replacing them in 657 Boulevard. Immediately the new family receives a letter from the Watcher, leading us to believe that the Watcher was never uncovered and will never be. 

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