The Watchers Movie Review

The Watchers movie poster

In The Watchers, Warner Bros. tricks you into thinking you’re watching a new M. Night Shyamalan movie (reality: his daughter is making her feature-length debut), Dakota Fanning looks exactly like the Dakota Fanning we remember from 20 years ago, and the story descends into stupidity and boredom the more it progresses.

Ishana Shyamalan, who wrote and directed 10 episodes of her father’s gripping but ultimately aimless TV series “Servant,” writes and directs this stinker, which starts off strong but ends… less strong.

A semi-mysterious young woman named Mina (Fanning) drives into the Irish woods to deliver a parrot for some reason that isn’t explained. Her car breaks down and then “disappears” for some reason that isn’t explained. And finally, she meets three other individuals (Georgina Campbell, Oliver Finnegan, and Olwen Fouéré) who spend every night locked in a modernistic room with a window that allows dangerous monsters to observe them from outside.

It’s a cool enough concept. Why is this building here? Why are there monsters that live in the woods? Why do the monsters want to perv out and watch them? Why does she keep the parrot? Compelling questions, and for a split second I was thinking “Lost” before quickly realizing that The Watchers isn’t even remotely smart enough to match even the final season of that show.

There are a few decent jump scares early on and occasionally Shyamalan Jr. achieves a sense of unsettling suspense. Far-off shadowy glimpses of the decently designed monsters are effective. And again, the mystery box promises some pleasant surprises.

But The Watchers is a mystery box of crap.

While the movie isn’t nearly as gripping or suspenseful as it could have been, its atrocious third act is what ruins any goodwill it earned early on. The final predictable twist, which I guessed within the film’s first 30 minutes, lands with the impact of a baby chick feather. Plot holes and logic gaps began to tear the fabric of time and space, and perhaps worse, with every opportunity to go in an intriguing and powerful direction, The Watchers instead plows ahead along the most expected and mundane path possible. The climax is disastrously lame, teeing up almost zero excitement while confoundedly ending with (minor spoiler alert) a lame speech that inexplicably saves the day.

It certainly didn’t save the movie.

Review by Erik Samdahl unless otherwise indicated.

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