The Watchers Is An Engaging Suspense Thriller And A Solid Debut For Ishana Shyamalan

Following in the footsteps of her father; Writer/Director Ishana Shyamalan has made her Feature Film debut with a taught thriller.

“The Watchers” is based on the book by A.M. Shine and tells the story of Mina (Dakota Fanning); an American living in Ireland and avoiding her twin after the loss of their mother 15-years prior. Mina is a withdrawn and broken individual who assumes identities and new looks at night when she goes to the local Pub as an escape from her reality.

When Mina is tasked to deliver a bird to a Zoo as part of her job, she encounters a mysterious breakdown in the middle of a remote forest.

Things take a turn when the car that was only a few steps behind her is no longer there when she turns back after seeking help; and cannot find a way out of the forest. A woman named Madeline (Olwen Fouéré), rushes Mina into a shelter where she meets Ciara (Georgina Campbell) and Daniel (Oliver Finnegan).

Mina learns that they are being watched by mysterious creatures known as “Watchers” and there are deadly consequences for venturing out at night, and breaking the rules such as not standing before a two-way mirror at nightfall to be viewed by the creatures.

The group is able to venture out during the day to forage; but the forest offers no means of escape during the day and has signs marking points of no return by a person known only as “The Professor” who came before them.

As the days pass, Mina breaks some of the rules by venturing into a lair to loot items and incurs the wrath of the Watchers for the group where Madeline informs them that their lives are in a precarious situation where they live only by strict adherence to the rules and doing what is expected of them.

As the danger mounts and the days pass, Mina and company make some discoveries which sheds new light on their situation but also opens the door to a much larger problem making a way of finding an escape a priority.

The film mixes moments of intensity with a slow-burn drama as we know that Mina is a troubled individual and each member of the group has their own demons which is partially what binds them in their situation even as tensions mount.

While it is steeped in folklore; the movie is engaging even though as with many of her father’s films; I predicted some of the twists ahead of their reveals but in no way did this distract from the enjoyment of the film.

The movie offers a bit more of a cerebral suspense experience than traditional gore-laden horror, but the atmospheric setting of the forest is so creepy that it almost becomes a character in and of itself which makes the plight of the characters even more engaging.

The film is an ideal watch for those looking for something different from the usual horror offerings and is a solid debut from a Director to watch.

4 stars out of 5

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