The Watchers (2024) ft. Peyton Robinson

Jay Singh
The Watchers (2024) ft. Peyton Robinson

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.

#Director: Ishana Shyamalan

#Writers: Ishana Shyamalan, A.M. Shine

#Stars: Dakota Fanning, Georgina Campbell, Olwen Fouéré

#Genres: Fantasy, Horror, Mystery, Thriller

The Watchers (2024) Story:

This forest isn't charted on any map. Every car breaks down at its treeline. Mina's is no different. Left stranded, she is forced into the dark woodland only to find a woman shouting, urging Mina to run to a concrete bunker. As the door slams behind her, the building is besieged by screams. Mina finds herself in a room with a wall of glass, and an electric light that activates at nightfall, when the Watchers come above ground. These creatures emerge to observe their captive humans and terrible things happen to anyone who doesn't reach the bunker in time.

The Watchers (2024) Full Star Cast:

The Watchers (2024) Movie Review:

When it comes to kooky, creative thrillers, Shyamalan is practically a brand. Though M. Night is the present precedent for this surname, his daughter Ishana hopes to carry the torch into the next generation, making a name for herself in a similar genre. Based on the book by A.M. Shine, “The Watchers” is Ishana Night Shyamalan’s directorial debut, a fabled narrative that seesaws between fantastical whimsy and proposed horrific terror with lots of ambition but little finesse. Mina (Dakota Fanning) is a lost soul. A twentysomething American living in Galway, she spends her days working at a pet shop and her nights cosplaying at bars as anyone but herself. When her car breaks down in the middle of a dense, directionless wood, Mina is forced to search for help. As the sun sets and every bird occupying the forest springs into a shrill, hurried flight, she’s left as (seemingly) the only living thing around. 

The woods become taunting: dark, growling, and with something giving chase. With her car nowhere in sight, Mina begins to run, encountering a small bunker with a woman at the door, Madeleine (Olwen Fouere), who ushers her inside. Also in this bunker, which they refer to as “The Coop,” resides Ciara (Georgina Campbell) and Daniel (Oliver Finnegan). The coop consists of three walls and a large one-way window, which serves as a mirror for them and a display for the forest creatures, the titular watchers. Every night, the group must greet them at the window, standing in line like shop window mannequins, and allow themselves to be observed. Madeline, Ciara, and Daniel have been trapped for months in the forest, whose labyrinthine layout and immeasurable density make it near-impossible to find a way out before dark. 

Their survival, and now Mina’s, hinges on a simple set of rules, the most important of which are to be in the coop before nightfall and be on time to greet the watchers when they arrive. The day is safe. but the night is not, and failure to abide by the rules is communicated to be a brutal, violent death. Shyamalan bites off much more than she can chew with “The Watchers.” The architecture of the source material provides much to play with in terms of worldbuilding, set pieces, and character development, but Shyamalan’s limited toolbox is brutally on display. “The Watchers” lacks creative vision and guts, with only a clumsy script to fall back on. Riddled with vapid dialogue and wish-washy commitment to the genre, it struggles to establish its identity and maturity level. 

Madeleine's character cyclically warns against the vociferous violence of the watchers, but the film is scant to make you believe in it. It lacks teeth. The stylistic choices resemble the hopscotch cartoony, kid-friendly horror found in films like “The Haunted Mansion” and a few sequences that aim to draw blood, more in the styles of a James Wan classic like “Insidious.” Shyamalan is best when leaning mystic rather than macabre, but her execution feels like blindfolded cherry picking, and “The Watchers” becomes flimsy by consequence. Read More

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