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Sundance Film Festival 2022 Night 2

Chloe Okuno’s debut feature film, Watcher, is best not to be described, but experienced. And by that I mean, prepare for one of the most terrifying experiences in film you will ever have. I say this as someone who loves Horror anything. I love being scared while watching a film. In real life, I am also very afraid of most things, so I spend a lot of the time frightened (I am also someone who finds horror incredibly comforting and always has as the world had always been a frightening place to me and horror seems to “just feel right” - the frightening world projected and reflected). I sometimes lack caution. I am exploratory to my own detriment at times even though I am petrified of what might lurk closer than one thinks possible. How bad REALLY is this situation? Should I be afraid right now? This film, along with Okuno’s stunning short film SLUT (which is available online to watch) explores the very real terror and risk that may be lurking closer than others, and sometimes, even ourselves, think. The always excellent Maika Monroe (I’ll watch anything with her in it... and I’m always excited when I see that she is in a film) gives a crackling performance as someone experiencing a terrifyingly realistic set of predicaments - so much so, that I was yelling “no!” out loud many times and wanted to sink into the bed and away from the screen out of fear. I jumped, I had to watch something completely different to divert my spinning mind, and I knew that I would be looking out my windows multiple times during the night out of fear. Which is all to say, I loved it. I was bowled over by the simplicity (using this idea for a second day in a row while writing about film... I know), camera framing, acting, and dread that permeated the film. There is a sequence in the film that is so simple in its creation and yet cuts bone deep because it is such a tangible fear, and there are many such instances expertly expressed in the film, even though one simple horrifying moment took the cake for me. As I sit here writing this, I shudder and goosebumps cover my whole body in remembrance of this simple moment. Unequivocally excellent horror and dread.

From January 22nd, 2022

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