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  • Writer's pictureStephen Yanni

The Watchers (2024) - Secrets of the Coop

Rating: ★★★½☆ (3.5/5 Stars)

Released 06-07-2024

Watched 06-07-2024

Reviewed 06-10-2024

Watched in the theater Using Cinemark Movie Club

"Try Not to Die, Try not to Die"

Ishana Night Shyamalan's directorial debut, The Watchers, delivers a chilling supernatural horror experience that echoes her father's signature style while carving out her own unique niche in the genre. With a screenplay based on A. M. Shine's 2022 novel and a cast featuring Dakota Fanning, Georgina Campbell, Olwen Fouere, and Oliver Finnegan, the film draws audiences into a sinister, mysterious world.

The story follows Mina (Dakota Fanning), an American immigrant working in a pet shop in Ireland. Struggling with the recent death of her mother and estrangement from her twin sister, Mina is thrust into a nightmarish scenario when her car breaks down in a dense forest. She encounters Madeline (Olwen Fouéré), an enigmatic older woman, who leads her to 'The Coop,' a bunker-like structure where Mina meets other stranded individuals, Ciara (Georgina Campbell) and Daniel (Oliver Finnegan).

There, she learns about 'The Watchers,' mysterious beings that observe them through mirrored glass every night. Bound by strict rules to survive, Mina and her new companions must avoid the Watchers at night and stay out of the Burrows, the underground tunnels the Watchers inhabit during the day. The tension escalates as the group faces internal conflicts, dwindling resources, and the ever-looming threat of the Watchers.

The Watchers earns a solid 3.5 stars for its atmospheric tension and compelling performances. Dakota Fanning shines as Mina, portraying a blend of vulnerability and resilience that anchors the film. Georgina Campbell, Olwen Fouere, and Oliver Finnegan deliver strong supporting roles, each adding depth to their characters' harrowing experiences.

Shyamalan's direction shows promise, particularly in her ability to build suspense and create an oppressive atmosphere. The forest setting is utilized effectively, evoking a sense of claustrophobia and dread. The sound design is exceptional, enhancing the eerie mood with every creak and whisper.

However, the film's plot occasionally falls into predictability, and some horror tropes feel recycled. The "surprise ending" may be anticipated by seasoned horror fans, slightly dampening the impact of the climax. Despite these minor drawbacks, the film's visual and auditory elements make it a worthwhile experience on the big screen.

The Watchers is a commendable debut for Ishana Night Shyamalan, offering a blend of traditional horror elements with fresh, intriguing concepts. It's a must-watch for fans of the genre, especially those who appreciate the Shyamalan family's knack for suspenseful storytelling. While it may not reinvent the wheel, it spins a tale that is both captivating and chilling.


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