The Watchers parents guide

The Watchers Parent Guide

The script is execrable and the acting matches it. There's no saving a film with basic elements that are this bad.

Overall D

Theaters: A young woman gets stranded in remote Ireland and finds herself trapped with a group of strangers who are watched by mysterious creatures each night.

Release date June 14, 2024

Violence C
Sexual Content A
Profanity B-
Substance Use C-

Why is The Watchers rated PG-13? The MPAA rated The Watchers PG-13 for violence, terror and some thematic elements.

Run Time: 102 minutes

Parent Movie Review

Haunted by the tragic death of her mother fifteen years ago, Mina (Dakota Fanning) hasn’t moved on and is stagnating at her job in a pet shop. When an opportunity comes up to spend a day driving across Ireland to deliver a bird, she seizes the opportunity to get some time to herself.

Mina gets a little more than she bargained for when her car breaks down in the middle of a forest. Soon, Mina is lost, and can’t even find her car. What she finds instead is a mysterious, white-haired woman sprinting through the trees – when followed, she leads Mia to a bizarre concrete structure in a small clearing. Once inside, she introduces herself as Madeline (Olwen Fouéré), and explains their predicament: The forest is full of dangerous creatures called Watchers, and they only come out at night. Since it takes longer than a day to walk out of the forest, no one has been able to escape.

Mina settles in with Madeline and the others, Ciara (Georgina Campbell) and Daniel (Oliver Finnegan). The Watchers don’t try to get into the bunker, but in return the humans must follow their rules, the most important of which is that each of the humans stay in front of the large one-way mirror that dominates one whole wall of the bunker. They can’t see out, but the Watchers can see in – and the humans can hear them, moving in the dark. Escape seems impossible. But no one wants to stay here forever…

There’s no way to say this nicely: the script is, in a word, execrable, and the performances aren’t much better. Characters read lines sounding like they have only just gained the power of speech but without comprehension. No matter what else the movie does, there’s nothing that can fix a problem this fundamental. And trust me, this is just the tip of the mountain of refuse towering out of this particular dumpster fire. Believe it or not, it’s downhill from here.

The plot is patently nuts, which could be interesting in a weird way, but it’s almost invisible beneath the congealed scum of dialogue on top. And then there are the plot holes in the story, some of which are big enough to throw a couple of the characters through, and boy I wish someone would. Apart from their newfound power of speech, these characters all have a remarkable ability to be irritating. You ever wanted to get stuck with three neurotic weirdos and a bird in a bunker in the middle of an inescapable forest? No? Then why would you spend 102 minutes of your life inflicting this movie on yourself?

Parents should know that, for younger audiences, the film is quite frightening, with intense scenes of peril and terror throughout. There’s also some violence, a little bit of profanity, and near-constant vaping. (You can almost hear the protagonists’ lungs crackling from the vapes.) At the end of the day, though, the biggest problem with this movie is a tie for … almost every part of the movie. It did do one thing I appreciated, though: Ended. In answer to the age-old titular question, “Who watches the watchers?” Me, unfortunately. But hopefully you don’t make the same mistake.

Directed by Ishana Shyamalan. Starring Dakota Fanning, Georgina Campbell, Olwen Fouéré. Running time: 102 minutes. Theatrical release June 14, 2024. Updated

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The Watchers
Rating & Content Info

Why is The Watchers rated PG-13? The Watchers is rated PG-13 by the MPAA for violence, terror and some thematic elements.

Violence: People are struck and dragged off camera screaming. A man’s leg and throat are cut. A woman is struck in the head with a picture frame hard enough to cause unconsciousness and bleeding. A bird’s neck is broken.
Sexual Content: None.
Profanity: There are two scatological curses and occasional use of mild profanities and terms of deity.
Alcohol / Drug Use: Adult characters are seen vaping and smoking regularly. Adult characters are briefly seen drinking in a social context.

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Related home video titles:

For more humans stuck on the wrong side of the woods, try Annihilation, In the Earth, The Devil Below, or The Thing.