“The Watchers”Movie Explained: What’s Up With the Ending?

From June 6 in cinemas you can watch the new horror film “Watchers”, the plot of which is based on the novel of the same name by Irish writer A.M. Shayna. This is the feature-length directorial debut of Ishana Night Shyamalan, the daughter of the master of mystical thrillers/horror M. Night Shyamalan, who served as a producer here. In the review below we tell you how successfully the young debutante realizes herself in the macabre genre in which her famous father made his name.

Pros:

in the initial stages, the story can intrigue; decent technical performance; attempts to surprise the viewer, albeit not very successful;

Minuses:

a bunch of small inconsistencies that develop into a general incoherence of the narrative; horrors that don’t scare and thrillers that lack coherent suspense; banal disclosure of the main intrigues; the climax risks disappointment;

“The Watchers”

Genre supernatural horror film
Directed by Ishana Night Shyamalan
Starring: Dakota Fanning, Georgina Campbell, Oliver Finnegan, Olwen Fouéré, Alistair Brammer, John Lynch
Premiere cinemas
Year of manufacture 2024
IMDb website

A little sad blonde Mina lives in Ireland and works in a pet store. One day, her boss gives her a task – to transport a valuable parrot to a zoo somewhere near Belfast. Therefore, the girl gives the bird the nickname Darwin and sets off on a journey that involves traveling through the dense Irish forests. It is in one of them that Mina’s mobile phone treacherously turns off and the car stalls. After useless forest wanderings, the heroine meets Madeline, an active grandmother beyond her age, who heads to a strange shelter located right in the middle of the forest.

Madeline persistently advises her new acquaintance to follow her if she wants to survive. There are two more in the shelter: the twitchy young man Daniel and the young woman Ciara. When darkness comes, they all line up, as if by order, right in front of a huge mirror-window, reminiscent of mannequins from a boutique window. This is how the residents of the storage facility fulfill one of the strict rules that must be followed unquestioningly. And just then they begin to be closely watched by mysterious creatures from the outside – the Watchers. The young director Ishana Night Shyamalan (the girl is not yet 25), for her full-fledged film debut, decided to adapt the work of A.M. Shaina, appearing on bookstore shelves in 2022. She is trying to break into the major cinematic league by ungodly imitation of the style of her illustrious father. But it turns out very mediocre.

At its core, “The Watchers” is a forest folk horror about the supernatural. On the topic of mythological Irish monsters in the dark Irish forests, the general plans of which resemble the picturesque area in West Virginia from the slasher film “Wrong Turn,” Corin Hardy has already spoken quite comprehensively in his “Out of the Darkness” (2015). By the way, this was also his debut, and it turned out to be much more exciting and at the same time less pretentious.

As for building suspense and intrigue of the Shyamalan type, here too Ishan fails. The problem is that she failed to produce either a high-quality genre product or a clear author’s statement.

The story begins with the viewer being introduced to the main character, who does not seem to understand who she really is. Later, when Dakota Fanning’s character already finds herself in the “fairytale forest,” Ishana turns on Shyamalan’s signature style, and the plot turns into a boring voicing of the thesis that we are all, to one degree or another, observers who don’t feed us bread – let us watch others through a television screen. Interestingly, Jordan Peele recently addressed a similar topic of human thirst for spectacle in his “No,” and he did it much more elegantly.

However, halfway to the denouement, this idea is quickly lost somewhere, and Mina’s tragic backstory comes to replace it. It’s a pity that this man does not evoke any empathy, just like the other prisoners of the “cabin in the forest.” Where the script suggests tension, such as the episode with Ciara’s husband, who seems to have returned to the bunker after several days of wandering in the forest, there is complete indifference. And where there is room for some mysteries or even an allegorical interpretation of events, it turns out that Ishana has practically nothing to offer. Over the course of 100 minutes of running time, Dakota Fanning gives one single stony expression on her face to all events, so her heroine is literally a good Mina with a bad performance. A frequent guest in horror films, Olwen Fuerte, whom you might have seen in the newest “Texas Chainsaw Massacre” or the more recent “Tarot,” does nothing but remind the entire film of strict rules, which is very annoying. There’s not much to say about others, because the creators give too little information about the characters, and therefore they don’t arouse sincere interest.

Ishana Shyamalan took only the first serious step in full-length feature films and, unfortunately, it turned out that the first one was lumpy. The director tried to operate with dosed atmospheric horror, build up tension and, for the time being, rely on mystery. It turned out like Shyamalan at minimum wages, seasoned with gloomy Irish folklore.

The most famous Hollywood Indian will soon have his own premiere – the psychological thriller “Trap”, which is scheduled for release in August. So for now, “Observers” looks more like a warm-up before the headliner’s performance than a serious attempt to realize itself in the creepy genre.

Conclusion:

“Watchers” will certainly not come as a surprise to those who are familiar with the filmography of M. Night Shyamalan in particular and with the creepy genre in general a little deeper than flipping through the pages of Wikipedia.

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