How true is The Watcher? 7 huge details that were made up for the Netflix show
19 October 2022, 16:00
The tunnels never existed. The blood-drinking neighbours weren't real. The family's pet wasn't killed. And the previous owner of 657 Boulevard never had any trouble with The Watcher.
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The Watcher is based on the true story of the Broaddus family who lived in the real 657 Boulevard in Westfield, New Jersey. But just how accurate is it?
Well, the show stays, for the most part, true to the terrifying real-life story, but there's also countless moments in the show that have been dramatised, changed and completely made up.
From the actual depiction of the real-life family that the Brannocks are based on, to the gruesome murders, and the horrifying happenings in the house itself, here's a list of things that never actually happened in real life.
How true is The Watcher on Netflix?
The satanic child-eating cult was completely made up for the show.
It wouldn't be a Ryan Murphy show without a little satanic cult moment, would it? The creepy cult sub-plot, that the former owner of the house told Dean Brannock about, did not happen in real life. There was no weird blood-drinking rituals going on. It was all fictional.
The Broaddus family in real life had three kids who knew nothing about the Watcher.
In the show, the Brannock family have two children who know about the letters from The Watcher fairly quickly.
In real life, the Broaddus family had three children, all under the age of 10 at the time, who had no idea about the letters from The Watcher until it became a national talking point.
This change likely stems from a request that the Broadduses asked Netflix to factor into the show. While the family had no serious or creative input into the series, they asked for the show not to use their real names, and to make the fictional Brannock family look nothing like theirs.
By extension, the sub-plot where 16-year-old Ellie dates 19-year-old security camera installer Dakota did not happen in real life either.
The Broadduses never officially moved into the house in real life either.
In the show, viewers see the Brannock family move in and settle into the house in the early episodes. They're living there when they start renovations. However, after the first letters arrive, Nora and the kids begin sleeping at a motel while Dean stays at the house hoping to catch whoever is sending the letters.
In real life, the Broaddus family never officially moved into the house. They began renovating it from afar after the first letter made them too uneasy to actually spend any time there, let alone sleep there.
The reaction to the Broadduses in the neighbourhood was much worse than in the show.
The Netflix series doesn't dive into the wild conspiracy theories and internet comments from people around the world that plagued the Broaddus family after their story went viral. In their own neighbourhood, Derek and Maria Broaddus were criticised, with people theorising that they had made the whole thing up in order to sell their story for money.
There was never any evidence to suggest that they wrote the letters to themselves, and they eventually sold the house at a loss of $400,000.
The tunnels under the house were completely made up for the series.
Again, just like the child-eating cult, the tunnels underneath 657 Boulevard were not real, and neither was the creepy room that Nora and Dean discovered among them. None of the neighbours were hiding in the house, either.
The Netflix show is much more violent than the real story.
In real life, the Broaddus family never officially lived at the house so all the horrifying happenings we see in the show did not happen in real life. The murder of the Brannock family ferret? Never happened. The two murders that were committed by Mitch and Mo's son across the street? Also never happened. Entirely fictional.
The previous owners of the house were also never harassed by the Watcher.
In an early episode of the show, viewers see Dean Brannock talk to a former owner of the house who details all the horrifying goings-on that happened to them in the house, including a whole bunch of letters that were sent by The Watcher.
In reality, the people who owned the house before the Broadduses never had any trouble in the 23 years they lived there. They reportedly received one letter from The Watcher before they moved out, and brushed it off, not thinking anything of it.
The real-life Broaddus family went on to sue the previous owners for not disclosing the fact they had received a letter, but the lawsuit was eventually dismissed.
Read more about The Watcher here:
- The Watcher's Mia Farrow feels "guilty" that she made a show about a real family’s pain
- The Watcher season 2: Release date, cast, spoilers, trailers and news about the Netflix show
- Who was the Watcher in real life? The true story behind the Netflix show is terrifying
- Where is The Watcher house located? Here's what happened to 657 Boulevard in real life