Netflix has discovered its sweet spot when it comes to terrifying us all. “The Watcher” is no different.
It is inspired by a genuine story.
The Brannock family moves into what was intended to be their perfect suburban home, but it swiftly turns into a hellish place, according to Netflix.
According to the show’s synopsis, “ominous letters from someone calling themselves ‘The Watcher’ are just the beginning as the neighborhood’s deadly secrets flood out.”
In 2018, New York Magazine published a piece titled “The Haunting of a Dream House,” written by Reeves Wiedeman, that chronicled the story of Derek and Maria Broaddus’ family.
The couple paid $1,355,657 for a six-bedroom property in Westfield, New Jersey, and spent around $100,000 on improvements. Derek Reeves went to check the mail after completing a day of painting and discovered a letter addressed to “The New Owner.”
“The Watcher” continued to write nasty and threatening messages, some of which were directed at the family’s three young children.
The family was on high alert, contacted the police, and even engaged a private investigator to attempt to figure out who sent the letter. Neighbors were requested to donate their DNA willingly to match it to that found on one of the envelopes.
They never moved into the house out of dread and prudence.
The Broaddus’ listed the house for sale eight months after acquiring it. Despite many price reductions, they were unable to sell it.
They sued the previous owners for neglecting to notify them that they, too, had received letters from “The Watcher.”
After failing to obtain zoning clearance to sell the house to a developer who would have destroyed it to divide it into two lots, the couple sold it five years later for less than they paid.
According to New York Magazine, the family still lives in Westfield, albeit in a smaller house. Derek Broaddus has a Twitter account where he recently posted stories regarding the Netflix series.
Bobby Cannavale plays Derek Broaddus, while Naomi Watts plays his wife, Maria.