The Watchers

The Watchers Movie Review

“The Watchers” is a movie based off of recent horror novel, and it was adapted to give you scares and chills. At least the interesting premise will get you engaged, but the final reveal is where is should pack a punch. Especially if the Writer and Director is a child of the one of the current greats. However, sometimes you can stretch a rubber band just so far before it snaps…


Over in Ireland is a young woman named Mina (played by Dakota Fanning). She is from America and is there in Galway to escape her troubled past. She is estranged from her sister, and she cannot escape the tragic death of her mother. That was fifteen years of mental baggage she carried with her from the States. Mina is a loner and rule breaker, and she thinks she’s not a good person.


Mina works at a pet store, when her boss tells her to drive an exotic yellow parrot over to Dublin. That should be easy, and Mina likes things to be easy. She packs up her vape pen, her charcoal sketch book, and the cute colorful bird. They are on their way to a new adventure, or so they think. Out on a very desolated road in the middle of a very thick, green forest — the car dies.


Mina has named the parrot ‘Darwin’, and the only words the parrot can speak are “Try not to die”. That seems like good advice, now that the car is useless, and the GPS has gone out. There is no way to know where she is. There is no cell phone coverage, and no landmarks that can be seen.  There is nothing noticeable where Mina walks through the trees. There is only an ominous sign on a pole in the ground — with the words “Point of No Return”.


There is a person in the distance, and Mina walks over to see who it is. She hurries away, and Mina follows to an odd-looking house with a big metal door. This other woman calls for Mina to hurry, the sun has almost set. She must be inside this structure by the time the sun is down. But why? Why is there a metal door in the middle of the woods anyway?


Mina sees that there three other people in this small structure. There is not much in the way of furniture, or sanitary supplies. However, one entire side of the building is a huge single piece if glass. It is very strong and very thick. It looks out into the forest area, but there is nothing specific to look at. The floor is heavy concrete. It feels like an impenetrable bunker.


The older woman who led Mina to the structure speaks up. She says her name is Madeline (played by Olwen Fouéré). She has been in here for the longest amount of time. She is the one who know all of the ‘rules’. The other ones are Daniel (played by Oliver Finnegan) and Ciara (played by Georgina Campbell). Daniel found his way here several months ago. Ciara was here with her husband. But John (played by Alistair Brammer) had left several days earlier, and they have no seen him since.


Madeline seems to know some things about this place that she calls ‘The Coop’. There are some very serious rules, that is — if you do not want to die. You need to be inside before the sun sets. You need to look at the mirror and let them see you. During the evening, the sun sets and it gets dark outside. But, somehow, there is power inside “The Coop’ and when the lights go on — you cannot see out the single window. It becomes a giant mirror.


Mina goes along with what Madeline says, and she stands in front of the mirror. She does so just as the others do the same. They stand side by side and they cannot see anything. But the beings outside, on the other side of this thick, protective pane of glass — they can see. And the disturbing noise that they make sets Mina off so that she wants to scream or cry. Madeline tells her, don’t do anything that would unsettle them out there – they are here to watch us.


Mina goes along for a while, but she has a wandering spirit and is a rebel by nature. The creatures have apparently made underground ‘burrows’. Madeline, who is the oldest and has been inside ‘The Coop’ for the longest’ tells Mina that she used to be a teacher at the University. She was an expert in folklore and legends and Celtic history. She used to know a Professor Kilmartin (John Lynch), another person with a keen interest in creatures of myth.


But these mythical beings might not be gone, Madeline says. They might have been locked away centuries ago. Perhaps they have found their way back to the human world. Maybe that is why they seem to collect things from the human world and store it in the burrows. Perhaps that is the reasoning that this structure was created, so that the beings could become ‘The Watchers’. They could study the humans that they long-ago used to live amongst.


But theory and folklore knowledge will only take Mina so far. She wants answers! She wants the truth! But can she handle the truth? They are all no closer to getting out of the forest as the day they all first arrived. But at one point, Mina finds some other thing that was hidden up to that point. It leads to more hidden areas, and more secrets are revealed. The new areas explain other things, and they show the final days of Professor Kilmartin. He was on a quest for knowledge. But that soon turned into a struggle for power.


Mina now has enough information to try and escape. Ciara is ready to go, as is Daniel. Madeline also wants to leave, but she maybe has other reasons to do so. The creatures at night are powerful, but maybe a route by daylight would make it possible to flee. But would the team be able to find their way through the endless trees? Can they find a ‘passage out to the place they were before’? Or are stuck in their own version of a rural Irish ‘Hotel California’?



“The Watchers” is a decent movie with a beginning oozing of tension and dread. But the longer it goes on, the more air is released from the balloon. This movie, like a balloon, droops lower and lower. Until at the end, it is sitting lifeless on the floor. Perhaps it seemed to slide down at the end because it was too faithful an adaptation to the book.


Ishana Night Shyamalan, who is the Director and adapted the book for the screenplay, appears to be a very capable talent. That is no wonder, since her father is M Night Shyamalan. The premise is laid out very carefully, and the way that Mina gets caught into the trap set by the Watchers seems real enough. The scenes in the deep forest are at first very light and airy, but they quickly turn dark and foreboding.


Dakota Fanning does the best that she can with character that seems to have very thinly defined traits. That goes even further for the other characters trapped in ‘The Coop’. Georgina Campbell and Oliver Finnegan (Ciara and Daniel) have even fewer things to work on as those characters. Olwen Fouéré as Madeline does have the presence of a kindly but strict schoolmarm.


“The Watchers” is like a beautifully built Paper-Mache construction of a mystery box, full of weird folklore tales and beings. But, if it gets caught it in the final act rain, it will all fall apart…

The Watchers

Written and Directed by: Ishana Night Shyamalan
Based on “The Watchers” by: A. M. Shine
Starring: Dakota Fanning, Georgina Campbell, Oliver Finnegan, Olwen Fouéré
Cinematography: Eli Arenson
Edited by: Job ter Burg
Music by: Abel Korzeniowski
Distributed by: Warner Bros. Pictures
Release date: June 7, 2024
Length: 102 minutes
MPAA rating: PG-13 for violence, terror and some thematic elements
Genre: Horror


Rating contributor: JMcNaughton tmc

I think movies need to be shared and enjoyed by as many people as possible! Going to a movie theater is a group experience, even if you go in there alone. When the lights go dark and movie begins, you can participate in a special kind of magic. You can be entertained, or enlightened. But you are never bored. Or at least, let's hope not. Try reading the reviews first.. maybe that will help!

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