The tale of a family whose life became a real-life horror movie is turning into, well, an actual horror movie. According to Deadline, Netflix just finalized a massive deal securing the film adaptation rights to a recent New York Magazine article on the infamous New Jersey "Watcher" house and the unfortunate family who happened to buy the place a few years ago.
The whole thing is basically tailor-made for the screen. Back in 2014, the Broadduses were happily fixing up a newly-purchased house in Westfield, New Jersey, when they started receiving letters from an anonymous stalker who called themselves "The Watcher."
"Why are you here? I will find out," one of the Watcher's letters read. "My grandfather watched the house in the 1920s and my father watched in the 1960s. It is now my time." The letters became increasingly unhinged from there, making references to terrifying shit hidden inside the walls of the house and thinly-veiled threats to the Broaddus's kids. "Have they found what is in the walls yet?" another letter continues. "In time they will. I am pleased to know your names and the names now of the young blood you have brought to me."
News of the so-called Watcher house first spread in 2015, but as the police failed to help and the identity of the stalker went undiscovered, the world collectively shuddered, basically said "Damn, glad that's not me," and moved on. But the Broaddus's story didn't end there. A recent New York feature digs into the family's continued struggles, from the way they became paranoid about their own neighbors to their inability to off-load the cursed place on new buyers.
The article apparently renewed interest in the Watcher house and the film rights quickly became the center of a massive bidding war, with everyone from Jason Blum to J.J. Abrams's Bad Robot reportedly vying for the opportunity to tell the Broaddus's story on screen. But it looks like Netflix has thrown down a whopping seven-figure sum to secure them. According to Deadline, the rights package includes both the New York article and the family's personal story.
The real-life horror story was already turned into a mediocre Lifetime movie—even though the Broaddus's asked the network to please, please not do that—but this Netflix film will be the first authorized adaptation of the Watcher House saga. Henry Joost & Ariel Schulman (Paranormal Activity 3, Catfish) are attached to direct the movie.
There's no word yet on when Netflix is expected to drop the thing or how it might end, since the Watcher is still out there doing his goddamn terrifying Watcher thing to this day. We'll have to wait until the movie hits the streaming service to see if Netflix can pull it off—or, you know, hope that the Watcher makes it easy on them and finally quits terrorizing this poor family.
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