The talk of the day is about The Watcher, a series that appeared on Netflix last week. Choose a bizarre true story, make a contemporary series about it and you are sure to be successful, Netflix must have thought. After the success of Dahmer they also care with The Watcher for unprecedented success. The series, inspired by a true story, is about a house on 647 Boulevard.
This is what the mother of a Jeffrey Dahmer victim of the series thinks >
The Watcher on Netflix
Dean (Bobby Cannavale) and Nora Brannock (Naomi Watts) have just bought their dream home in the idyllic suburb of Westfield, New Jersey. Although it’s a beautiful house they’ve invested all their savings in, it turns out the neighborhood isn’t very welcoming. Soon they are ravaged with ominous letters from someone who calls himself ‘The Watcher’ and the Brannock family is terrorized. Will the secrets of this neighborhood finally come out? The series was inspired by a true story, but what exactly is that story?
The Broaddus family bought the home at 647 Boulevard, New Jersey in 2014. Derek and Maria Broaddus bought the home for $1.3 million from John and Andrea Woods, who had lived there for over 23 years. When they started the renovation of the house, they received a letter addressed to ‘the new owners’. The sender of the letter identified himself as The Watcher, claiming to be the guardian of the house, as seen in the brand new Netflix series.
The real family responds
Editor Reeves Wiedeman wrote in 2018 The Cut already an article about and will return to the Broaddus family after the release of the Netflix series. In 2019, five years after the Broadduses bought 657 Boulevard, they were finally able to sell it to a contractor and a family eventually bought the house. Wiedeman tells in a new interview with Vanity Fair that no new letters have arrived at the address and that the police investigation has been completed, without result.
The Broadduses, who have stayed in town, are trying to move on with their lives.” In 2018, a number of major film and TV producers expressed interest in acquiring the rights to adapt our article and their life story – a horror producer offered to buy 657 Boulevard in the hope of using the house as a set,” Wiedeman writes. “The Broadduses had little interest in giving anyone the right to make some entertainment out of the worst years of their lives.”
After Lifetime the movie The Watcher released in 2016 without the family’s consent, the Broadduses decided to sell the rights to Netflix and agree to adapt their story. They had two requests: that their name not be used (the family on screen is called the Brannocks) and that the family be as close to their own as possible.
So what do they think about the series being on Netflix now? “I think this was the worst experience of their lives, they understand why people are interested in their story. They don’t have much interest in the attention, publicity or excitement surrounding the series. For them, it’s still something they want to get rid of — so they can have the fun suburban life they hoped to get when they moved into this house — or tried to move in. The Broadduses have not seen the series. Derek isn’t going to watch it. Seeing the trailer was stressful enough.”