The Watcher (2022) - Series Review
What worries most of today’s American middle class, who lives thriving in perfectly decorated suburbs? What could scare the elegantly suited employees of big corporations and their beautiful wives who greet them with a smile on the doorsteps of elegant homes? What is the fear of wealthy, stable spouses who raise their children away from the bustle of the city and provide them with bright prospects? The Observer series refers to the feeling of being watched and the awareness that you are losing control of your safety and the safety of your loved ones. If there is a threat nearby, outside a royal window or fence, but cannot be identified, found and neutralized, the illusion of controlling every element of our life and building a permanent fortress – a house in which we gradually hide from a potentially hostile world is collapsing. Paranoid fear of someone constantly watching our every move and wanting to do us harm is lined with an unwillingness to give up this safe and comfortable haven. Obviously, the “observer” does not stop at diagnosing a specific type of fear. He connects it with the contemporary crisis of masculinity based on the ability to ensure the safety of the family, the marital crisis caused by the changing position of women and men in society or the intergenerational conflict between sensitive guardians and adolescents fighting for independence.
The work of Ryan Murphy (currently the lead creator of Netflix and responsible for the recent success of “The Monster: The Story of Jeffrey Dahmer”) is based on a true story that took place in New Jersey in 2014. The American viewer who admits to facts and loyal reconstruction is not primarily concerned with the Although a number of details from a mysterious and unresolved case coincide with the plot. The series is inspired by events that have been widely reported in the media, to ultimately create an independent narrative that contains elements of horror films and paranoid thriller features, as well as blurred black humor. In seven episodes, we witness a ridiculous situation that befalls Dean and Nora Brannock. The couple moves with their daughter and son to a large house in Westfield, to fulfill their dream of breaking up with the giant of New York. Everything looks perfect here: evenly manicured lawn, fresh clean air, a swimming pool at your disposal, a view of the lake. However, the happiness and peace of the family is disturbed by a threatening letter signed by a certain “observer” located in the mailbox. Dean and Nora will be fiercely determined to explain who sent them the ominous letter, but finding the culprit nearby will be more than a complicated task.

The main problem with the Observer is the fact that the creators can’t choose whether it should be a dark racist story with a thriller, or a somewhat satirical imitation, out of tradition. real crimewhich has taken its place on streaming platforms forever, in the form of documentary and feature films. On the other hand, the series thickens the atmosphere of chronic uncertainty and encirclement that fills every nook and cranny in the Brannock House, cleverly escapes in horror tricks that heighten tension, give us false clues and more and more frightening options to solve the puzzle, and paints a jigsaw of a strange neighborhood filled with suspicious and unfriendly individuals . Westfield’s scenic and polluted landscape is quickly riven, revealing horrific episodes of its residents’ past, hidden by years of resentment, grief, and their selfishness holding back the birth of a truly supportive community. In the fictional cauldron, the creators melded conspiracy theories straight from “Rosemary’s Baby,” motifs from films about haunted mansions, and even a private investigator plot from Imaginarium noir to engage viewers and protagonists in a complex, multi-level plot. Although some scenario solutions seem really unlikely, the drama of the persecuted family is being watched with growing interest and concern. On the other hand, the “Observer” constantly uses the situational humor and comedic character of the characters or piles up absurd suggestions and explanations so intensely that it is impossible to stop laughing. Pictures of strange characters neighbors or assertive businesswoman Karen, rubbing against cartoons, do not allow to take them seriously. The multiplication of hypotheses about the work of the suburban cult and the network of underground tunnels, as well as silhouettes shimmering in the depths of the corridor and sounds coming from nowhere, is nothing more than a complete game of the authors with expectations. From the recipient who knows pop culture from the inside out. Unfortunately, despite some flexibility and brilliance, the series always overlaps with it and never turns out to be a finished work on the frontiers of horror and crime fiction, or satisfying postmodern fun.

But I won’t stick the critical blade too deep, don’t worry. It should be clearly noted that The Watcher is a well-packed entertainment product that fulfills its primary tasks – at the right moments it makes the heart beat faster, in others it provides an original reflection on the contemporary obsession with the protection of material possessions, pathological greed and the toxicity of hasty accusations. The series also happens to entertain us in the most unexpected of situations, when it is theoretically inappropriate to quarrel when we ask ourselves the appropriateness of our sudden instinctive reactions. And even if you hate such stories as a rule, it is very interesting to watch the galaxy of stars collide on the screen. The acting duel between Bobby Cannavale and Naomi Watts is particularly effective. Dean is portrayed as a man full of paradoxes: a bit hypocritical who loses his power in a crisis, and little fights for the safety of the male family. Subtly bringing out the suspicions of Nora, who hesitates between being completely independent from her partner and watching a house fire fade away. In the background, long-invisible Mia Farrow (known for her iconic roles in Allen and Polański) stars as elderly Pearl, devious in antiquities and nature protection, and Jennifer Coolidge as Karen’s self-satiric. Although Murphy garnered a top-notch cast in The Observer, he was a bit disappointed, and a director with equal experience with TV fights is always expected to do a lot more. However, a lucrative contract with Netflix will quickly give him a chance to test the thrill-starved audience once again. Hopefully with a little better effect.

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