A Warning for the Watcher

Based on the true story of the Broaddus family who lived at 657 Boulevard in Westfield NJ The Watcher is a sensation that recently aired on Netflix. As the Brannock family moves into their dream home in Westfield NJ to escape the dangers of NYC they receive a very strange welcome. The family begins to receive letters from someone who calls himself The Watcher. They go on in creepy detail about how they and their family have been watching 657 Boulevard for over a hundred years.

The show follows the family’s actions in trying to discover who The Watcher is. The series was binge-worthy as viewers will want to find out who is terrorizing the family and it is much creepier knowing it was based on a true story. As the family received little to no help from police, and their neighbors were, to say the least, suspicious, the show had the potential to be very good, however, it failed to meet my expectations. The neighbors were constantly people I thought could have been The Watcher and the police left the family on their own to solve this case, creating real drama.

First, the acting was simply just not compelling. Bobby Cannavale played the father, Dean Brannock. He attempted to play the role of a distressed dad trying to protect his family but instead just came off as creepy, making way too many comments about his daughter’s appearance. As the lead of the show, he was relied on to give us a captivating performance that I just don’t think was quite there. Also, Christopher McDonald as the detective either did his job horribly or a bit too well as any time he came on the screen I was automatically annoyed by his character. He was constantly rude to the family, and never really did his job to help solve the case.

Next up, the factual inaccuracies in the show discredited the real families’ experiences. The Broaddus family never moved into the house after receiving the letters. I do agree that the family moving into the house in the show did need to happen for the plot however, it makes it more of an interpretation of the story and strays a bit far from the true events. Also, the Broaddus was a family of 3 with no kids under 12. The actual age of the kids made me question the purpose of the relationship between 16-year-old Ellie and 19-year-old Dakota. If it had nothing to do with the real story of the family, why did the writers feel it necessary to make us uncomfortable with their relationship?

As done in the majority of horror movies, the characters make questionable decisions, to say the least. The Brannock family is no different. The biggest decision that was hard to watch was the family not putting a security camera on their mailbox. If the letters were being put in the mailbox, and they already spent $7,000 on security cameras just put one on the mailbox! Next, their neighbors were sketchy and I too would have been afraid of them. However, there was no need for Dean Brannock to make enemies with them. Their relationship could have been neutral or good if he put in the effort but instead, he was horrible to them, giving all of his neighbors reasons to terrorize his family. It seemed that every person he came into contact with he burned a bridge with, and he was not in a place to be making more enemies.

Finally, the number of plot holes that followed the unsatisfying ending was frustrating. The writers did a good job of keeping us on our toes with who the Watcher could have been, however they introduced new character after new character and then failed to do anything with them. There were so many aspects that went unexplained and were unnecessary to add to the plot if they were just going to leave holes.

While I did indeed stay up until 3 am binging The Watcher because it kept me on my toes the whole time and I simply did not have the self-control to turn it off, needless to say, I was not a fan as the show left me frustrated and unsatisfied.