'Trailer was traumatizing': Broaddus family who inspired Netflix's 'The Watcher' reveal harrowing viewing

'Trailer was traumatizing': Broaddus family who inspired Netflix's 'The Watcher' reveal harrowing viewing
The Broaddus family won't watch the Netflix series 'The Watcher' (Screenshot from Where are they now/YouTube; screenshot from Neflix/ YouTube)

WESTFIELD, NEW JERSEY: Netflix's series 'The Watcher' was released on October 13, and according to Collider, the series has already taken the top spot on the streaming giant's charts, amassing a staggering 125 million hours viewed on the English TV List.  However, the real family, on whom the show is based, was not keen on watching the series, reported Elite Daily

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According to the outlet, the real-life story of the Broaddus family got popularized after it was published in the The Cut in 2018 though it was previously covered by New York magazine. The story details the life of a family who purchased their dream home in Westfield, News Jersey, and then started receiving awful letters from 'The Watcher'.

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According to Entertainment Weekly, ABC News correspondent Eva Pilgrim said in a segment on Tuesday, October 16, "We reached out to the Broaddus family. They declined to comment, but they do still live here in the Westfield area. And we've been told they have no plans to watch the show; the trailer was traumatizing enough." The series is created by Ryan Murphy and Ian Brennan. Naomi Watts and Bobby Cannavale play Nora and Dean Brannock, who are based on Maria and Derek Broaddus. 

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Though the Broaddus family always avoided the limelight, they had two requests to the creators while filming their story. One of them was the series should not use their real names due to which the creators changed the names of the characters as well as changed their family name from Broaddus to Brannock. They also changed the number of children the couple had. In reality, the couple has three children in elementary school, whereas the series depicted only two older children. Another request was that none of the family members should look similar to the real life members, reported Mashable India. 

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(Netflix screenshot/YouTube)
The series deals with a family receiving strange and disturbing letters after purchasing a house (Screenshot from Netflix/YouTube)

The series carries most of the elements from the real-life story. According to Entertainment Weekly, the characters of neighbors Jasper and Pearl were based on real people and Mitch and Mo were also a real life couple who reportedly kept staring at the house while sitting on lawn chairs opposite. The depiction of the family being convinced that The Watcher must be their neighbor Michael Langford was also true to a great extent, according to Elite Daily. Some of the dramatic elements added to the series included the conspiracy that the residents of Westfield were part of a child-eating cult. Further, the three children of the house in real life never came to know of the house until it became a national discussion. However, in the series the two children were aware of the issues from the beginning.

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The story is about a haunted family (Netflix screenshot/ YouTube)
Bobby Cannavale and Naoi Watts portray the original Derek and Maria Broaddus (Screenshot from Netflix/YouTube)

The show never explained how the letters caused the family to become the subject of conspiracy theorists and internet commenters, reported Elite Daily. The series has also not explained why the Westfield community turned against the family, claiming they themselves wrote the letters. After everything, the Broaddus family was able to sell the house, albeit at a loss of nearly $400,000.

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According to Entertainment Weekly, Watts claimed during the series shoot, "We were all constantly speculating and finger-pointing to each other, trying to see what stories lined up. That's fun, and it helps to our advantage as actors to keep up the mystery as we played it. Not knowing is the beauty of it, and it adds to the tension of how you play it. It wasn't spelled out to us, either, so our guessing was just as fun as yours!"

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