Watcher Teaser: Someone's Got Their Eye On It Follows' Maika Monroe

There's a lot to be excited about in "Watcher," the upcoming Maika Monroe horror film that premiered at Sundance 2022 to a lot of fanfare. Now that a teaser trailer has dropped for the movie, us plebs can see for ourselves what the fuss is about — and get a taste for what we're in for.

IFC Midnight debuted the trailer on their social media accounts and confirmed the film's release date for June 3, 2022. The trailer, which only lasts for about a minute and a half, gives us a lot of quick cuts and frantic camerawork, no doubt paralleling the paranoia of Monroe's lead character, Julia. We see her notice a seemingly harmless onlooker from a neighboring apartment building, but as the cuts get more intense and the pace turns violently quick, we're left wondering what harm is inflicted during the film's run time. After all, we do catch a glimpse of a bloody mattress and a body being dragged from it — so there are a lot of questions being set up by this visual. 

According to the film's official synopsis, "A young woman moves into a new apartment with her fiancé only to be tormented by the feeling that she is being stalked by an unseen watcher in an adjacent building." Monroe is known for her star-making turn in 2014's horror hit "It Follows," while Okuno blew up in 2021 after her segment in "V/H/S 94" became a major crowd-pleaser. Yes, we're talking about "Storm Drain." Hail Raatma.

The writer-director makes her feature directorial debut with "Watcher." She opened up about the tension the film brings in an interview with Bloody Disgusting in January: 

"I thought the simplicity of it was very intriguing. Large portions of it are really just a woman in her apartment, feeling this creeping sense of dread," she told the outlet. "There is something particularly upsetting to me about the idea of not being safe in your own home and I liked the challenge of building suspense around this very minimalist story."

Okuno added that she had specific intentions for how she wanted to frame this terrifying tale for an audience's eyes:

"I always start by thinking about how I can tell the story visually. This movie is a sort of classical psychological thriller where we're spiritually in the realm of 'Rosemary's Baby,' so it was really about bringing Julia's interior world to the surface and making us feel what she's feeling. I wanted to be very specific about color palette, composition, and lensing."

Maika Monroe's horror legacy

As someone who fell quickly in love with "It Follows," it has been a real delight to see Monroe continue to intrigue audiences in the genre sphere since tackling that film. We've seen her in "The Guest," "Villians," "Flashback," and more — and now she's jumping back into horror full-force with Okuno's exciting debut. It's no surprise that she's become a horror icon. In fact, she's always been drawn to the genre, according to her interview with Collider in January:

"I grew up loving old classic horror movies, watching 'Nightmare on Elm Street' and 'The Shining' probably way too young, but there was just something about it. Unlike other movies, you always have such a visceral reaction to the genre that was very intriguing to me. And then I ended up becoming an actor and ended up doing a movie called 'It Follows' that — not to gloat about it — but I think that film was the beginning of a change of the horror genre and kind of going back to its original roots of 'The Shining' and [John] Carpenter, and so I think since that time there's just been so many incredible genre films coming out and so many people involved with the genre, so for whatever reason, I just keep coming back! Especially with this script, I just fell in love with it."

Okuno seemed to be convinced that Monroe's firm place in indie horror is more about her work ethic and dedication to the camera, which — from a technical perspective — is excellent, and (from a personal perspective) makes me like her work that much more.

"Maika was fantastic. She is capable of summoning this incredible emotion that she holds in right until the moment that she needs to break down," Okuno told Bloody Disgusting during her January interview. "It's about the honesty and power of her performance but also the fact that she's so good about tailoring that performance to work with the camera."