The Watchers (2024) Review

By Allison Rose   X Formly Known as Twitter
3 Min Read

Simply put, The Watchers is unwatchable.

The Watchers (2024) Review
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In western Ireland, there is a forest that is not on any map. Those who wander in, never come out.  They simply disappear. What is it about this forest that seems to hold a deadly secret?  The Watchers, written and directed by Ishana Night Shyamalan (making her feature film debut), takes audiences into that same forest.  Starring Dakota Fanning (War of the Worlds) as Mina, The Watchers is categorized as Horror/Mystery and Thriller but is none of those things and just when you think it can't get any does.  Opening in theaters on June 7th, I predict The Watchers will be on streaming before you know it.

Mina is trapped in the past, living in Ireland and working a dead-end job in a pet store.  When her boss asks her to deliver a rare bird to a zoo elsewhere in Ireland she agrees, if for no other reason than to have a change of scenery.  On the way, her GPS seems to veer her out of her way and her car breaks down at the edge of a forest.  As night is about to descend, Mina decides to look for help but as she wanders further into the woods she finds no help until suddenly an older woman offers her shelter in a concrete building.

Once inside, Mina meets the woman, Madeline (Olwen Fouéré; The Northman), Ciara (Georgina Campbell; Barbarian), and Daniel (Oliver Finnegan; Outlander).  They then all stand in front of the glass wall and Madeline explains that "the watchers" observe them all night and go back underground during the day.  However, if anyone was to be caught outside after dark, the watchers would kill her. Madeline also explains that as a college professor, she has studied Irish folklore and she believes the watchers are fairies who lost their wings after being trapped underground by humans.  With no way to get out of the forest before dark, the four of them are stuck forever.

The cast is the only decent thing about The Watchers with Fanning leading the way.  She alternates between anger, sadness, fear, self-loathing, and resignation as to her fate.  Fouéré fits into the creepy part of the story well, Ciara is the most normal of the group and Finnegan is decent but is the weakest member of the four.  

Like her father, Ishana has an eye for framing shots, and, working with cinematographer Eli Arenson (Lamb), the two create some great scenes visually.  Of course, anyone who has seen the movie Lamb, you will instantly see Arenson's stamp all over The Watchers.  Both are bizarre stories in dreary surroundings that give both films a sense of grey dampness throughout.

Also like her father, Ishana throws a few curveballs into the mix.  However, unlike the elder Shyamalan, she isn't as good at it since I figured out at least a portion of the twist approximately fifteen to twenty minutes into the film.  She also goes off the rails with the story in the third act in an attempt to try and make some sense of who and what the watchers are and why they are there. The ending, including the penultimate scene, is simply dumb.

The pace of the film is slow and, for a horror/mystery/thriller, there is little to no tension or suspense from start to finish.  For those who would think," I'd rather watch paint dry", this movie is almost exactly like watching paint dry.  Except for Mina, none of the other characters make the audience want to root for them. 

Simply put, The Watchers is unwatchable.

Grade: D

Directed By:
MPAA Rating: R
Running Time: 102 minutes
Distributed By: New Line Cinema

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For more information about The Watchers visit the FlickDirect Movie Database. This release has been provided to FlickDirect for review purposes. For more reviews by Allison Rose please click here.

The Watchers images are courtesy of New Line Cinema. All Rights Reserved.

FlickDirect, Allison   Rose

Allison Rose, a Senior Correspondent and Critic at FlickDirect, is a dynamic presence in the entertainment industry with a communications degree from Hofstra University. She brings her film expertise to KRMS News/Talk 97.5 FM and broadcast television, and is recognized as a Tomatometer-Approved Critic. Her role as an adept event moderator in various entertainment industry forums underscores her versatility. Her affiliations with SEFCA, the Florida Film Critics Circle, and the Online Film Critics Society highlight her as an influential figure in film criticism and media.


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