Watcher (film)

2022 film by Chloe Okuno

Watcher poster.jpeg
Theatrical release poster
Directed byChloe Okuno
Written byChloe Okuno
Based onThe original screenplay
by Zack Ford
Produced by
  • Roy Lee
  • Steven Schneider
  • Derek Dauchy
  • Mason Novick
  • John Finemore
  • Aaron Kaplan
  • Sean Perrone
  • Maika Monroe
  • Karl Glusman
  • Burn Gorman
CinematographyBenjamin Kirk Nielsen
Edited byMichael Block
Music byNathan Halpern
Distributed by
  • IFC Midnight
    Shudder (North America)
  • Universal Pictures
    Focus Features (International)
Release dates
  • January 22, 2022 (2022-01-22) (Sundance)
  • June 3, 2022 (2022-06-03) (United States)
Running time
96 minutes
CountryUnited States
Budget$5 million[1]
Box office$2 million[2][3]

Watcher is a 2022 American psychological thriller film written and directed by Chloe Okuno, based on an original screenplay by Zack Ford. The film stars Maika Monroe, Karl Glusman, and Burn Gorman.

Watcher had its world premiere at the 2022 Sundance Film Festival on January 22, 2022, and was released in the United States on June 3, 2022, by IFC Midnight and Shudder.


Julia moves to Bucharest where her husband Francis has just gotten a new job. Unable to speak Romanian, and with Francis often working long hours, Julia feels isolated in their apartment, which has a large picture window with a view of the neighboring building.

One night, while out walking, Julia and Francis come across the police responding to a murder scene. At dinner with Francis's coworkers, Julia learns that a serial killer has been murdering and decapitating young women in their apartments.

Julia begins to feel that one of their neighbors may be watching them. When she goes to the movies, a creepy man sits directly behind her despite many open seats. Later, when she goes grocery shopping, the man seemingly follows her. She tells Francis, who takes her back to the store, but surveillance footage of the man is inconclusive. Julia tries to file a police report, but they find her story unconvincing.

Julia befriends Irina, who lives in the apartment next door and speaks fluent English. Irina shows her a pistol which her volatile ex boyfriend, Christian gave her to defend herself. Later, Julia sees the man from the store on the street. She follows him, tracking him to an underground strip club where he apparently works as a janitor. One of the dancers is Irina, and Julia confides in her about what's been going on.

Julia has a dream about being attacked by the killer. When she wakes up she thinks she hears a scream from Irina's apartment and demands that the landlady open the door. When she does they don't find Irina, or any signs of a struggle, just a neighbor's cat.

The next day, Christian comes looking for Irina. Julia enlists him to deal with her neighbor who has been watching her and Christian bangs on the man's door, threatening him.

The police show up, with the creepy man from the store. He claims that Julia has been stalking him and harassed his elderly father at their apartment. This furthers the tensions between her and Francis, who doubts the seriousness of Julia's fears.

At a work event, Julia and Francis argue and she leaves. Riding the subway home, she encounters the creepy man. He admits to having watched her and other people, saying that he feels lonely looking after his infirm father, and demands an apology from Julia for falsely accusing him. Julia apologises, terrified by what looks like a human head inside a grocery bag that he is carrying. When Julia gets home she starts to pack a suitcase but hears music playing through the wall from Irina's apartment. She goes to investigate and finds the door unlocked. Stepping inside, she glimpses Irina's headless corpse before a bag is thrown over her head.

She awakens in Irina's apartment, with the man keeping her hostage. He admits to killing Irina and the other women. When they hear Francis' voice next door, Julia tries to call for help but the man slices her throat. The man lies next to Julia, watching her bleed out. When he rises, he notices that a girl in the neighboring building has seen him.

Francis calls Julia and hears her phone ring next door. When he goes outside he sees the man exiting the apartment. The man turns to leave but is shot by Julia, who stumbles out of the apartment and looks at Francis.


  • Maika Monroe as Julia
  • Karl Glusman as Francis
  • Burn Gorman as Daniel Weber
  • Tudor Petrut as taxi driver
  • Mãdãlina Anea as Irina
  • Cristina Deleanu as Eleanora
  • Daniel Nuță as Cristian


In March 2021, it was announced that Maika Monroe, Karl Glusman and Burn Gorman would star in a film titled Watcher for Image Nation Abu Dhabi and Spooky Pictures.[4][5]

Principal photography began on March 8, 2021, and concluded on April 16, 2021, in Bucharest, Romania.[6] The film took approximately six weeks to make in total.[7]


It premiered at the 2022 Sundance Film Festival on January 22, 2022. Later, IFC Midnight and Shudder acquired the North American distribution rights to the film.[8] Shortly after, AGC International sold worldwide rights outside North America to Focus Features.[8] It was released in the United States on June 3, 2022.[9]


Box office

In the United States and Canada, the film earned $826,775 from 764 theaters in its opening weekend.[10] It made $335,376 (a drop of 59%) in its second weekend;[11] $87,155 (–74%) in its third;[12] $21,843 (–74.9%) in its fourth;[13] and $7,386 (–66.2%) in its fifth.[14]

Critical response

On the review aggregator website Rotten Tomatoes, 87% of 127 critics' reviews are positive, with an average rating of 6.9/10. The website's consensus reads, "Although its story may lack surprises, Watcher benefits from director Chloe Okuno's chilling grip on the material – and Maika Monroe's terrific work in the leading role."[15] Metacritic, which uses a weighted average, assigned the film a score of 70 out of 100, based on 23 critics, indicating "generally favorable reviews".[16]

Lena Wilson of The New York Times called it "one of this century's most arresting tales of female anxiety."[17]


  1. ^ "The Watcher, Marketing, and the Mid Budget Thriller". September 2, 2022. Retrieved September 23, 2022.
  2. ^ "Watcher (2022)". The Numbers. Retrieved July 3, 2022.
  3. ^ "Watcher (2022)". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved July 3, 2022.
  4. ^ Grater, Tom (March 16, 2021). "Maika Monroe, Karl Glusman & Burn Gorman Starring In Thriller 'Watcher'". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved March 16, 2021.
  5. ^ Vivarelli, Nick (March 16, 2021). "Maika Monroe, Karl Glusman Join Chloe Okuno Thriller 'Watcher'". Variety. Retrieved April 18, 2021.
  6. ^ "Film and TV Projects Going Into Production - Watcher". Variety Insight. Archived from the original on April 18, 2021. Retrieved April 18, 2021.
  7. ^ "Meet the Artist: Chloe Okuno on "Watcher"". Retrieved January 10, 2022 – via YouTube.
  8. ^ a b IFC Midnight & Shudder Buy North American Rights To Sundance Thriller ‘Watcher’
  9. ^ Lattanzio, Ryan (April 27, 2022). "'Watcher' Trailer: Maika Monroe Will Haunt You in This Creepy Gaslighting Thriller". IndieWire. Retrieved April 27, 2022.
  10. ^ "Domestic 2022 Weekend 22". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved June 7, 2022.
  11. ^ "Domestic 2022 Weekend 23". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved June 23, 2022.
  12. ^ "Domestic 2022 Weekend 24". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved June 23, 2022.
  13. ^ "Domestic 2022 Weekend 25". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved July 6, 2022.
  14. ^ "Domestic 2022 Weekend 26". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved July 6, 2022.
  15. ^ "Watcher". Rotten Tomatoes. Fandango Media. Retrieved October 4, 2022.
  16. ^ "Watcher". Metacritic.
  17. ^ Wilson, Lena (June 2, 2022). "'Watcher' Review: Terror, at a Glance". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved June 3, 2022.

External links