The Watchers

Let them see you.

Fantasy Mystery Thriller
102 min     6.569     2024     USA


A young artist gets stranded in an extensive, immaculate forest in western Ireland, where, after finding shelter, she becomes trapped alongside three strangers, stalked by mysterious creatures each night.


r96sk wrote:
A real disappointment. 'The Watchers' holds some promise with its premise, though unfortunately it never really clicks into gear - in my opinion, at least. In fact, the longer it went on the more bored I felt whilst watching. I was waiting for the arrival of the end credits, which I thought were coming after 'the event' seemingly ends... yet the film still goes on for a little while yet. No-one on the cast did anything that could save this, either. Olwen Fouéré is decent, her character starts off fairly interestingly but by the conclusion I didn't really care for her either. The only positive I have for this 2024 flick is the score, which actually is quite good. Aside from that, this Ishana Night Shyamalan directorial debut underwhelmed me a lot, sadly.
CinemaSerf wrote:
Now my Irish geography isn't brilliant, but even I know that to drive from Galway to Belfast takes about four hours and does not involve any forest tracks. Nevertheless, pet shop worker "Mina" (Dakota Fanning), who is still coming to terms with a not very recent tragedy, sets off with her rare yellow bird only for her car to break down in the middle of an ancient forest. With no phone reception, she decides to leave her car and taking the caged bird with her, proceeds to wander through the trees shouting help! Pointless? Well no, as it happens, because she luckily encounters "Madeline" (Olwen Fouéré) who lives in a large concrete bunker with "Daniel" (Oliver Finnegan) and "Ciara" (Georgina Campbell). It appears that they have all been stranded in the woods and take shelter after sunset from the "watchers". These are mysterious creatures who like to come and watch their guests, via a great big one-way mirror, for a while each night. "Mina" is determined to escape and with the help of "Daniel" reckons she has a plan, but this just irritates their captors to the point that their "coup" is no longer safe. Hey, but wait - there's a submarine hatch in the floor, and when they go down they discover a lot more about who their enemy are, what they want and just who built this equivalent of a nuclear fall out shelter under the trees. Can they use this information to escape the trap and make it to freedom? At times it is quite menacing with their dark and wooded surroundings adding a degree of malevolence to an antagonist that we never really see and whose Gaelic mythological provenance is disappointingly undercooked. It has a go at ending a few times, but then comes back to add a little more to signal what I thought was that there'll be a sequel along shortly, rather than finish the adventure completely. It's not terrible, and Fanning delivers adequately - as does the gorgeous yellow bird, but you'll never remember it.
TheSceneSnobs wrote:
The Watchers marks Ishana Night Shyamalan's directorial debut, with her father, M. Night Shyamalan, serving as a producer. For her first feature film, Ishana adapts the book The Watcher into a movie. The story centers on Mina, a U.S. immigrant living in Ireland, who works at a pet shop. She is sent to the countryside to make a delivery, only to find herself stranded in the middle of a forest. Seeking refuge, she discovers an old building with three walls and a window. She meets three other people who inform her that she cannot leave because 'The Watchers' are always watching and keeping them there. The visual style of the film is impressive, showcasing Ishana Night Shyamalan's potential as a director. The atmospheric setting of the forest and the eerie, partially ruined building effectively create a sense of isolation and tension. Despite its strong visual elements, the story itself falls short. The plot feels longer than necessary, with certain elements that don’t always make sense. The pacing drags in places, causing the suspense to wane rather than build. The acting is another weak point. The performances come across as stale, with characters making choices that often seem illogical and uninspired. Mina’s interactions with the other stranded individuals lack depth and emotional resonance, making it hard to connect with her plight. The other characters also fail to leave a lasting impression, contributing to the overall sense of disengagement. The themes of isolation and surveillance have the potential to be compelling, but they are not fully realized in this film. The concept of being constantly watched by an unseen force could have been used to create a more intense psychological thriller. However, the execution falls flat, resulting in a narrative that feels disjointed and unconvincing. Overall, The Watchers is a visually striking film that ultimately fails to resonate on a deeper level. While Ishana Night Shyamalan shows promise as a director with her ability to create atmosphere and tension, the film is let down by weak performances, a disjointed story, and lackluster character development. It’s a forgettable film that doesn’t leave a lasting impact. However, I am looking forward to seeing Ishana’s next directorial outing, hoping she can build on her strengths and deliver a more cohesive and engaging film in the future.