Netflix viewers left ‘disappointed’ with the ending of The Watcher
The gripping seven-episode series from Ryan Murphy is based on the real-life story of a couple who were harassed out of their dream home by a creepy stalker – whose identity remains a mystery to this day.
Netflix viewers have been left fuming at the ‘disappointing’ ending of the streaming giant’s new horror series The Watcher, despite being gripped by the real-life plot.
After they move from New York City to 657 Boulevard in Westfield, New Jersey, the couple are sent a series of cryptic and increasingly threatening letters from an anonymous person, signed off with The Watcher, who wants to force them out of their house.
It stars Naomi Watts, 52, and Bobby Cannavale, 51, as married couple Dean and Nora Brannock who move into their dream home in the New Jersey suburbs only to find themselves targeted by a stalker. Also starring is Jennifer Coolidge, 61, as the realtor who sells them the property and Mia Farrow as one of their creepy neighbors.
Unresolved mystery: Dean and Nora Brannock (played by Naomi Watts and Bobby Cannavale, pictured in a scene from The Watcher) buy their dream home in a quiet New Jersey suburb only to find their hopes of a new life become a living nightmare
The letters become increasingly chilling and the family spirals as they try to discover who’s behind the threats. Everyone becomes a suspect – their unusual neighbors, their realtor, the town police chief, and the husband and wife homeowners even start to turn on and suspect each other.
The Watcher, a fictionalized retelling of the Broaddus family’s real-life nightmare, has garnered praise for the gripping storyline but viewers were mostly disappointed with its true-to-life ending. Pictured above Bobby Cannavale as homeowner Dean Brannock who marches from his house with a letter from The Watcher in-hand to confront neighbors he thinks could be behind the chilling notes making his family’s life a misery
Real life: Derek and Maria Broaddus (pictured here with their children) bought 657 Boulevard in Westfield, New Jersey for $1.4million in 2014. Between June that year and February 2017, they received four sinister letters signed by The Watcher that left them fearing for their safety and eventually forced them out of what had been their dream home
The Netflix version of 657 Boulevard in Westfield, New Jersey where the Brannocks are left on edge by the letters, leaving them suspicious of their neighbors, their realtor, the police chief and each other
The Brannock family receive a letter from The Watcher in the photograph above from the new Netflix show featuring Naomi Watts and Bobby Cannavale
Uneven: According to Metacritic, The Watcher has received mainly mixed reviews and currently holds a score of 52 out of 10
The real-life Watcher home: The real 657 Boulevard in Westfield, New Jersey (pictured) where the Broaddus family were harassed by an anonymous stalker who sent them chilling letters signed ‘The Watcher’
Theodora claims she’s a previous occupant of the house who wanted to get them to move out so she could move back in. But in a further twist, it’s revealed that she lied and just wanted to give the terrorized family closure before she died.
It seems they have finally brought the horrifying chapter to a close when their terminally ill private detective Theodora (played by Noma Dumezweni) confesses to being The Watcher.
Fans rushed to social media to complain about the lack of resolution at the end of the series, with many branding it ‘pointless’ – but others praised the show for remaining faithful to how it really ended when Derek and Maria Broaddus and their children were forced out of their $1.4million home after four letters from The Watcher left them ‘depressed wrecks’ and on edge.
The couple are left with no other option but to move out, leaving the mystery of The Watcher’s identity unresolved – as it remains in real life.
‘Just binged The Watcher on Netflix.. awesome plot, horrendous ending,’ wrote one infuriated fan.
Mixed reviews: Viewers were gripped by The Watcher plot – but many found the ending ‘an absolute waste of time’, while others thought it made the story ‘haunting’ and ‘special’
‘If you’re going to start The Watcher on Netflix, don’t. Officially the worst ending I’ve ever seen,’ a third added.
Another said: ‘The ending of the watcher might be hands down the worst ending to any piece of cinema I’ve ever had to see. All the directions they could’ve went and THAT is how they end it? Utterly horrible.’
‘Just finished The Watcher. I know it’s based on a true story but that ending made the whole series an absolute waste of time,’ one user said.
One penned: ‘I’ve never watched something I’ve been so invested in and get severely annoyed with. Ryan Murphy’s The Watcher. WHO WAS IT? We learnt absolutely nothing. I want to know more! What was that ending??’
‘I am not p***ed at #TheWatcher’s ending as everybody else are. In fact, I think there is something haunting about that ending and that makes it special.’
While other fans felt the ending was satisfying enough as it mimicked the true story: ‘Just finished The Watcher… lots of thoughts atm. Really liked the show and its structure, the ending will have people divided but I for one liked where it went…
However, some people believe it may have been the couple themselves sending the letters. The Broadduses have always denied this.
Despite an investigation, police were never able to find the family’s stalker but they suspect that the letters came from someone who was within a 300-yard radius of the house (pictured)
‘What happened to my family is an affront to their contention that they’re safe, that there’s no such thing as mental illness in their community. People don’t want to believe this could happen in Westfield.’
Derek said: ‘There’s a natural tendency to say, “I’ve lived here for 35 years; nothing’s happened to me”.
The Woods said they had only received one note, that was unthreatening. The suit was dismissed.
In June 2015, the Broadduses sued the prior owners of the house, claiming that they also received a letter from The Watcher but never disclosed it.
Because of the letters, the Broaddus family put the mansion back on the market, and it eventually sold again in 2019 for $959,000.
The Broadduses (Derek Broaddus is pictured right) sued the prior owners, John Woods (left) and his wife Andrea, in 2015 claiming they also received a letter from ‘The Watcher’ but never disclosed it. The Woods said they had only received one note, that was unthreatening. The suit was dismissed.
Their story was at the center of a bidding war between six studios in late 2018, before Netflix acquired the rights and decided to make a miniseries instead of a film.
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