Netflix’s series, The Watcher, Grabs Teens' Attention
Netflix’s new release of the mystery series, The Watcher, has turned a true story based in the small town of Westfield, New Jersey into a nation-wide sensation. The series shares the nightmare story of the Broaddus family. A couple, Derek and Maria Broaduss, bought what they thought was their dream home, in hopes for a safer environment. The beautiful large home was located on 657 Boulevard in what they believed was the safe suburban town of Westfield.
After moving in, the family starts receiving eerie anonymous letters from someone who was calling themselves “The Watcher”. These letters soon turned into vicious and violent threats, and would include specific details like rooms in the house along with the names of their children. One letter says, “All of the windows and doors in 657 Boulevard allow me to watch you and track you as you move through the house. Who am I? I am the Watcher and have been in control of 657 Boulevard for the better part of two decades now." These notes completely haunted this family and mentally tortured them to the point of having to sell the house. The mystery of whom the watcher is has remained unsolved to this day.
The Watcher has an audience of all ages from teenagers to adults. It grew its popularity on the social media app, TikTok, and has specifically pushed teenagers to watch the series. “Every time I looked up in class, I saw at least one student binge watching the series on their computer,” NHS student Ava Farro said. “The series was brought up in most conversations I found myself in with peers, which made me want to watch it myself so I wasn’t out of the loop.” The series completely took over high schools across the country and became a regular conversation between students, teachers, and parents as it grew in popularity.
This cliffhanger of the mystery of the watcher has left millions of people intrigued. It brought mass attention to the small town of Westfield, New Jersey and has made watchers travel from different parts of New Jersey just to see the real life watcher house. NHS student Madison Walsh, a fan of the series, took it upon herself to see the real house in Westfield, “I wanted to see what this house was all about, especially because it's only a 30 minute drive from my town,” she says, “There were so many cars passing by and stopped at the house, along with caution tape surrounding the house and 'no trespassing' signs.” This simple curiosity that the series has created in viewers has caused a disturbance to the current house owners now, forcing them to put up signs and caution tape. Westfield locals were not happy with the attention it brought to their town. Madison says, “There were locals that passed by the house shouting things like 'Go home!' to us and the other people seeing the home.” The Netflix series has caused the house to have thousands of “watchers” instead of one watcher.