Why everyone’s obsessed with Netflix’s true crime series The Watcher

Based on a real life story of a family being stalked by someone they cannot see, the Ryan Murphy show already been dubbed ‘deranged’ by viewers.

Ryan Murphy inflicted hell on the families of Jeffrey Dahmer’s victims barely a month ago, and now he’s back already with another true crime series for Netflix. This time, the subjects are a wealthy family from New Jersey who move to their dream house in the suburbs, only to find that someone is watching their house and sending creepy, threatening letters. Starring Naomi Watts, Mia Farrow and our fave Jennifer Coolidge, it’s called The Watcher

The house itself, and the story it tells, is almost entirely real, first chronicled in an article by The Cut back in November 2018. At the centre of it were the white picket fence, upper-middle class Broaddus family who moved into 657 Boulevard in Westfield, New Jersey. A few days after their arrival, a note arrived addressed to ‘The New Owner’. “How did you end up here?” whoever was behind the letter typed. “Did 657 Boulevard call to you with its force within?”. It went on to claim that his family, for generations, had watched the house the Broaddus clan had just moved into. And now he was watching them too: commenting on the number of children the family had and the contractors they’d employed to renovate the house (much to the chagrin of The Watcher). “Welcome my friends, welcome,” that first letter finished. “Let the party begin.” He signed it in cursive: The Watcher.

It would begin a month’s long series of letters that would slowly reveal more and more details about the Broaddus’ family life, including the children’s nicknames, recounted scenes of them doing recreational activities, and ongoing renovations within the house. The messages became so intimate that the family were convinced one of their neighbours must be behind it. 

In the TV series, which follows much the same path as the original story (so we’ll leave some details aside for you to enjoy it fully), the couple at its centre are played by Oscar nominee Naomi Watts and Emmy award winner Bobby Cannavale, who also appears in Boardwalk Empire and Blonde. Mia Farrow and Jennifer Coolidge play supporting roles, as their neighbours and other folks who live in the town.

The show dropped on Netflix just yesterday (13 October) and already, the snoopy nature of the Broaddus’ neighbours has been memed and commented on online.

But the general consensus is that – unlike Dahmer – the show is actually good. Some are already calling it our “next obsession” and the best TV show of the year.

So what happens to the Broaddus family? Is the watcher ever found? Is this a haunted house thriller or a fucked up psychological drama? You’ll have to watch it to find out. The Watcher is available to stream on Netflix now.

Source: I-D

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