We’ve all had that feeling now and then, that indefinable certainty that someone’s looking at us. Sometimes we’re right about it, sometimes wrong, but in either case the feeling doesn’t last and we go about our day. In The Watchers, though, John (Jeff Moffitt) is having more of a problem with that feeling than usual. Everywhere he turns, he insists there’s someone watching him and it’s bothering him so much he’s making emergency calls to his psychiatrist Dr. Orwell (Timothy J. Cox).
Stress can do strange things sometimes, Dr. Orwell says soothingly, and even aside from the feeling of being stared at John has plenty of that. He’s estranged from his wife Marcie (Nikki Flanagan) and leaves pleading messages on her voicemail that remain unanswered. The pressure is affecting him at work, too, as you might imagine. His boss Philip (Darrin Biss) is very understanding, but that only seems to enrage John, which makes the stress worse.
Then a cryptic note appears inside his apartment, left by a hooded figure John can’t get a good look at. A woman (Kathleen Boddington) he doesn’t know says she’s been waiting for him. When John witnesses a tragedy and tries to report it to a police officer (Robert Nesi) the officer seems to know an awful lot about John, as do many other people he encounters on the street. It seems there’s something to John’s paranoia after all — but it isn’t until his apparently random meeting with an older man (Peter Francis Span) that he begins to grasp the full scope of what’s happening to him.
You can’t help but feel for John — all he really wants is for his wife to return his calls and figure out what’s going on. But as far as the latter goes, it’s a clear case of needing to be careful what you wish for, as the truth will change his world forever. As alone as he feels he does have people willing to help — his boss, the reassuring Dr. Orwell — but he’s determined to go it alone, perhaps out of some misguided need to feel in control. The very last thing he has is control, however, as he loses more and more of himself to these watchers.
I’ll give it four out of five. All the clues are there but the ending still gives a satisfying twist, with some eerie and unsettling moments along the way as we follow John’s bizarre journey of discovery — or perhaps his long fall down the rabbit hole. It’s a realistic look at a regular guy swept up into extreme circumstances and finding out he was never really who he thought he was.