This is a stylized affair, and the care taken with every choice—the apartment interior, the furnishings, the color of the curtains, Julia's red sweater and red tights, etc.—is meticulous. The film crackles with icy dread. Silences are loud and sounds are even louder. Nothing has the right proportion. Ceilings are too high, stairways too long. Voices emerge as if from the bottom of a well. Spaces are empty that should be full and vice versa. The mundane is terrifying, and the terrifying seduces. Nothing feels right. This is highly subjective filmmaking. "Watcher" is [Chloe] Okuno's first feature, as well as a first feature for the cinematographer, Benjamin Kirk Nielsen, and the two together make a powerful team.
Here's an interview with Okuno:
The one thing we could not find was a good apartment, because if we were going to do it at a location, it would have to be Julia’s apartment, and then across the way, the watcher’s place. Apartments in Bucharest are very small for the most part, and they don’t really have those massive windows we needed. So after looking for a solid month, maybe more, we resigned ourselves to the fact that it had to be a set. We did find one apartment with big windows, and a building across the way, and for a while we were exploring using that. But after trying to get that apartment forever, we heard that we wouldn’t be allowed to shoot there because the building across the way that we needed as the watcher’s building was, like, the site of some secret Romanian police headquarters.