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The Watchers is a snooze fest

After making her directorial debut with six episodes of the critically acclaimed television show "Servant", Ishana Night Shyamalan takes a leap into the world of feature films with "The Watchers", a Warner Bros. production. In addition to directing, Shyamalan also takes on the role of the film's screenwriter, adapting the story from the same-titled novel by A.M. Shine.

In "The Watcher's, Dakota Fanning takes on the role of Mina, a woman leading an unassuming life working in a pet store. Her life takes a dramatic turn when her boss assigns her the task of delivering a bird to a mysterious forest. After her car breaks down, Mina finds herself stranded in the dark woodland, where she encounters a woman named Madeline (Olwen Fouéré). Madeline, in a state of panic, urges Mina to run to a concrete bunker, setting the stage for a thrilling and suspenseful journey.

As the door slams shut behind her, the building is engulfed in screams. Mina, now in a room with two other strangers, Ciara (Georgina Campbell) and Daniel (Oliver Finnegan), realizes the gravity of their situation. They are surrounded by a wall of glass, and an electric light that activates at nightfall, when the Watchers emerge from the ground. These creatures, with their sole purpose of observing their captive humans, bring forth terrible consequences for anyone who fails to reach the bunker in time.

I deliberately refrained from engaging with any material relating to "The Watchers," except for a few trailers. Despite Ishana Night Shyamalan's prominent lineage within the industry, I chose to approach the film without succumbing to nepotism. Historically, I have observed her father's cinematic works to be inconsistent in quality. I will credit the movie for its premise sans a few cliches.

In the films second act, we learn that the "Watchers" appear at night, and to survive, the prisoners must follow a few rules. They have to show themselves to the "Watchers" at the mirror front at night and are not allowed to turn their backs on them. During the day, the creatures disappear, and people can move around outside. However, the forests are too vast for escape to be possible. Although initially the concept of mystery works well, Ishana Shyamalan sets ambitious goals for the seemingly minimalist scenario in the film. Yet as the story unfolds, it raises more questions than it resolves, leaving a significant gap between the information we receive and the unresolved mysteries.

Furthermore My primary reason for giving the film a chance was Dakota Fanning. Sadly, while Fanning has successfully transitioned into more mature roles with this film, she's clearly on autopilot and here for a paycheck. While we do get a reveal of her behavior, it doesn't mainly get with the rest of the film. The rest of the cast also come across as cardboard cutouts and offer nothing worth mentioning performance wise.

While I'm sure there is an audience for "The Watchers", it's one I won't view again.

Final Grade : D+


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