You may have been browsing through Netflix recently and seen a new thriller called The Watcher. Sure, the poster looks interesting, with a woman’s face in a bird’s silhouette, but do not be fooled! The superior The Watcher came out sixteen years ago! And have you seen the poster for that?! Keanu Reeves in silhouette…with piano wire! Oooh, gives me chills just looking at it.
The Watcher is a mediocre crime thriller starring a sleepy and annoyed James Spader and a bloated and contemptuous Keanu Reeves. Spader: The grizzled detective. Keanu: The obsessive serial killer. Keanu stalks a pretty girl and sends a photo to Spader, vowing to kill her in 24 hours.
Let this game of cat and mouse begin!
The moody hyper-cool gothiness of the late 90s drips from this movie from every pore. Whenever Keanu does something particularly sneaky, the screen flashes black and blue with negative colour. So cool! And we get all kinds of artificially slowed down footage so everything looks like an edgy music video. Speaking of music, this soundtrack has all of your alternative favourites! Portishead, Sneaker Pimps and Rob Zombie! Keanu even dances to Rob Zombie in TWO solo dance scenes in this movie! (Dragula and How To Make A Monster). During which he does tai chi moves and gives himself devil horns with his fingers.
And the final scene has some of the worst looking CGI fire I have ever seen. Maybe the budget ran out towards the end? Maybe they had to sub in some flames from their PC screen savers? We will never know. And it doesn’t matter. The effect will make you cry with incredulous laughter.
The script would be lame in a current episode of Criminal Minds. But perhaps, it was a different time. The general public was not yet over saturated with true crime stories. We had our Silence of The Lambs. We had Seven. And then..there was The Watcher.
Note: I have not seen The Watcher (2016).