Original title:Watcher
Director:Chloe Okuno
Running time:96 minutes
Release date:03 june 2022
Julia and her Romanian-born husband move from the United States to Bucharest, where he has found a new job. Having recently given up her acting career, Julia often finds herself alone in her large apartment and tries to take care of herself as best she can. One night, as she looks out the window of the building across the street, she sees a figure who seems to be looking back at her...

Mulder's Review

This year's selection of films in competition at the Deauville American Film Festival has been rather successful with independent films with limited budgets but directed by committed directors, original scripts and suitable casts. After three short films (Full circle (2013), Slut (2014), The dotcoms (2014)) and a sketch of the horrific film V/H/S/94 (2021) the director and screenwriter Chloe Okuno signs with Watcher her first film. 

Horrific cinema is not the sole prerogative of directors as shown recently by films such as (The Babadook (2014) by Jennifer Kent or more recently Candyman (2021) by Nia DaCosta, The invitation (2022) by Jessica M. Thompson. Certainly the result is not always conclusive but the look of a director brings an undeniable new breath. Watcher is a closed-door thriller that reminds us of Alfred Hitchcock's classics such as Rear Window (1954), but in a context of women's demands that are amply justified. 

In Bucharest, while a serial killer is rampant in the city and leaves the police unable to stop him, Julia (Maika Monroe), a young actress, moves in with her boyfriend and finds herself caught in a dangerous spiral. Not only does she feel she is being watched by a mysterious stranger in the building across the street, but she also feels followed when she visits the city. While her boyfriend seems to be losing his mind, an increasingly ominous threat lurks around her. Is Julia paranoid or is she really in danger? 

Even if the plot of the film doesn't shine with originality, it's its treatment that makes it a classic of the genre, as the director and screenwriter Chloe Okuno delivers an intense and claustrophobic film. By placing in the center of the story the fact that Julia seems to attract the attention of an unhealthy psychopath as if her attitude was reproachable makes Watcher a bewitching film. In the same way the actress Maika Monroe chooses her films with great care and avoids sticking to big Hollywood productions like Independence Day: Resurgence (2016). Watcher is well worth discovering and is currently available on Shudder in the UK and the US. We hope that the film will be visible in France soon too.

Written and directed by Chloe Okuno
Produced by Roy Lee, Steven Schneider, Derek Dauchy, Mason Novick, John Finemore, Aaron Kaplan, Sean Perrone
Based on The original screenplay by Zack Ford 
Starring Maika Monroe, Karl Glusman, Burn Gorman
Music by Nathan Halpern
Cinematography: Benjamin Kirk Nielsen
Edited by Michael Block
Production companies : Image Nation Abu Dhabi, AGC International, Spooky Pictures
Distributed by IFC Midnight, Shudder (North America), Universal Pictures, Focus Features (International)
Release date : January 22, 2022 (Sundance), June 3, 2022 (United States)
Running time : 96 minutes

Seen on September 2, 2022 at the Deauville international centre

Mulder's Mark: