IFC Midnight announced that they are acquiring North American rights to WATCHER from director Chloe Okuno (Shudder’s V/H/S/94, SLUT) starring Maika Monroe (IT FOLLOWS, GRETA), Karl Glusman (LOVE) and Burn Gorman (TORCHWOOD). Okuno co-wrote the film with Zach Ford and the film is the inaugural film produced in a new genre pact between Image Nation and Spooky Pictures, in association with Lost City. Producers are Roy Lee and Steven Schneider of Spooky Pictures, Derek Dauchy, Mason Novick, John Finemore, Aaron Kaplan and Sean Perrone. Executive producers are James Hoppe, Elizabeth Grave, Ben Ross, Rami Yasin, Gabi Antal. WATCHER made its world premiere at this year’s Sundance Film Festival, and IFC Midnight will release the film in theaters and on VOD in 2022 with Shudder taking the first streaming window.
In WATCHER, Julia (Maika Monroe) joins her husband when he relocates to his family’s native Romania for a new job. Having recently abandoned her acting career, she finds herself frequently alone and unoccupied. One night, people-watching from her picture window, she spots a vague figure in an adjacent building, who seems to be looking back at her. Soon after, while alone at a local movie theater, Julia’s sense of being watched intensifies, and she becomes certain she’s being followed — could it be the same unknown neighbor? Meanwhile, a serial killer known as The Spider stalks the city.
Arianna Bocco, President of IFC Films said, “Chloe Okuno’s exceptional vision uses horror and thriller elements in a masterful way that will resonate with any person looking for a singular cinematic experience, even further emboldened by a star-turning performance from Maika Monroe. We’re honored to introduce Chloe’s stunning feature debut WATCHER to audiences across North America, announcing her as a director to watch.”
Director Chloe Okuno added, “It was a hard-fought battle to make Watcher during the pandemic, and I’m so proud of everyone who worked to get us to this point. I am beyond delighted to partner with IFC Midnight and Shudder to continue this journey together and cannot wait to share the movie with a wider audience.”
Craig Engler, GM for Shudder added, “We’ve been huge fans of Chloe Okuno’s since her short film days and were lucky to have her direct one of the most popular segments of our hit movie V/H/S/94, which premiered to record numbers last year. We’re delighted to be working with her again on WATCHER, which is a brilliant and tense film with a breakout performance from Maika Monroe, and we can’t wait for Shudder members to see it.”
In a review for Roger Ebert, Brian Tallerico praised Okuno’s direction, “Sleek and effective, WATCHER is an old-fashioned thriller with a modern heartbeat, an announcement of Okuno as a major talent to watch.” Reviewing for Variety, Jessica Kiang further comments on the timely undercurrent of the film, “WATCHER, if it has an agenda beyond being a fun, shivery, fish-out-of-water chiller, is not so much a manifesto to Believe All Women as it is a reminder to all women watching to at least believe ourselves.”
The deal for the film was negotiated by IFC Films’ Head of Acquisitions and Production Scott Shooman with UTA Independent Film Group and Cinetic on behalf of the filmmakers.
IFC Midnight is home to some of the most exciting new voices in genre film of the last decade, including Natalie Erika James’ RELIC, Dave Franco’s THE RENTAL, Jennifer Kent’s THE BABADOOK, Carlo Mirabella Davis’ SWALLOW, and the latest film from Peter Strickland premiering at the upcoming Berlinale, FLUX GOURMET. IFC Midnight is also representing the critically acclaimed Finnish horror film HATCHING at the 2022 Sundance Film Festival, directed by first-timer Hanna Bergholm – currently 100% on Rotten Tomatoes.
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