The Watcher: The Internet’s Latest Feud

By: Aaliyah Hollie

On the streaming service Netflix, a new horror series called, The Watcher has recently been released on October 13th, 2022. This series is based on real events that occurred in 2014; it is not just fiction that was hastily put together in a writing room. In order to provide viewers with an engaging experience, the series skews and dramatizes events, which has led to confusion and conflicting reactions. The premise of the series is to explore the lives of the Brannorock family, who have recently moved into a New Jersey neighborhood and are now the owners of a home on 657 Boulevard. The Broaddus family experienced some of the real-life events that were depicted in the story. Strange letters begin to arrive to both households and are the cause of the life-changing events the families experienced.

The director, Ryan Murphey, has already drawn criticism from the audience because his previous productions, Dahmer – Monster: The Jeffrey Dahmer Story and American Crime Story, did not always have the best moral records when it came to dramatizing true events or making victims feel uncomfortable. This is also the case with this series. Friends of the Broaddus family have already released a statement explaining why they will not be watching the dramatized account of a traumatic event in their lives. Because of this, individuals who do not watch the show initially voiced their concerns and questioned why they should do so. However, this is not the only reason non-viewers have found that verifies they have made the correct choice; casting decisions made also draw criticism to the screen. The series ages the children up to include graphic scenes, as if it were a main objective of the show instead of telling the initial story.

The show receives a lot of unfavorable response from non-watchers, while the show’s viewers are divided. A few people have claimed that, despite the fact that the show is not a direct parallel to the real events, dramatization was required to attain the story’s goal of entertainment and that it was successful in doing so. Fans have also raised the supposition that the family has been paid for Netflix’s telling of the event. However, other viewers have complained that it was too exaggerated and that the ending was unwatchable because it didn’t resolve important plot issues. The final argument is that if the show was going to be as dramatized as it was, it should not have connected its name to the original case at all and should have been a standalone production.

This leaves the conversation open and invites additional critiques and acknowledgement. The internet debates are still ongoing, and the series will continue to draw praise and criticism for its morals as well as  entertainment.


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