The Watcher review: Suburban mystery subverts expectations at every turn

Netflix’s The Watcher follows a family moving into their dream suburban house only to contend with the horrors that unfold, including creepy neighbours, threatening letters, and a mystery figure hell-bent on harassing them out of the house.


The Watcher opens with a family of four pulling up to 657 Boulevard of Westfield, New Jersey. The Brannock family includes the parents, Dean and Nora, along with the kids Ellie and Carter.

Despite the few off-putting vibes and people, the family decides to buy the house, and it’s the home of their dream, in the safest suburb, far from the perilous terrain of New York.

However, the expectations soon come to bite the Brannocks as their situation spirals down the drain drastically.

It starts with a letter they receive from an anonymous figure who calls themselves “The Watcher”. The letter contains creepily probing details about their homes and threats regarding the children.

Meanwhile, the family is also jump scared by the weird neighbours a couple of times. Pearl and Jasper are two old siblings living in the neighbourhood, while Mitch and Mo are an old married couple living behind 657.

Dean and Nora turn to the police and when that isn’t of much help, they hire a private investigator, Theodora. She works with them to narrow down the suspects.

The suspicion indicator goes off on all the neighbours one by one. A man claiming to be a previous owner meets Dean and says Mitch and Mo are behind the letters, among other outlandish claims.

Pearl and Jasper keep acting highly suspicious as well. Theodora’s investigations introduce many other suspects, including the camera security guy, Roger Kaplan, and John Graff.

However, nothing concrete ever comes to light that can implicate someone. Meanwhile, Dean’s financial troubles become worse and his relationship with Nora worsens when she finds out about the financial mess.

Dean becomes a suspect himself but the family eventually come back together and the couple resumes their fight, only to finally give up and sell the house, moving back to their previous apartment in New York.

However, the mystery keeps gnawing at Dean, who is obsessed with the house and The Watcher now, even at the expense of his health and relationship with his family.


Netflix’s The Watcher boasts an absolutely stacked cast of veterans and talented actors.

The central characters are all flawlessly played by the leads, with the supporting cast lending a great bit with their performances as well.


The Watcher is a greatly paced miniseries that retells a fictionalized version of a real-life story.

Even with the already interesting source material, the Netflix show adds to it and does a commendable job with the cinematic embellishments it spruces up the narrative with.

By the end, The Watcher becomes one of the better Agatha Christie works not created by her, with the difference being that this whodunit story doesn’t entail a murder preceding the investigation but a scare that acts like a twisted practical joke.

There are twists and turns in every episode, and rarely does a point of subversion feel worn out or forced. With all its many revelations and surprising turn of events, the show manages to be gripping.

The music is used to great strength and the seldom horror visuals add to the creepiness instead of taking away from the thrilling mystery.


Some plot points like the tunnel in 657 Boulevard’s basement could have been fleshed out more.

Although the sense of dread is ever present in the series, the show could’ve benefitted from more scenes with a direct and immediate confrontation with the horrors.


The Watcher is a riveting retelling of real-life events, told through a competent set of storytelling techniques and usual thrills in the form of scares and spooks aplenty.

The writing, performances, atmosphere, and music are all used with brilliant execution, nailing the creepy and ambiguous vibe of the source material, while also making the retelling stand out on its own.

The Watcher
The Watcher review: Suburban mystery subverts expectations at every turn 1

Director: Ryan Murphy, Paris Barclay, Jennifer Lynch, Max Winkler

Date Created: 2022-10-13 12:30

Editor's Rating:

Also Read: The Watcher ending explained: Is Dean the Watcher all along?