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|“||Why did you turn away from me? Why was it so hard for you to accept? Cause you know I did it for you. You came so close to me that night. I remember clearly what I felt when I heard your footsteps falling behind me. Pride. For me, it was our finest moment. I can still see the flames.||„|
|~ Griffin talking about the day he killed Joel Campbell's fiancée.|
David Allen Griffin, also called "The Watcher", is a serial killer and the titular main antagonist of the 2000 film The Watcher. He is portrayed by Keanu Reeves, who also portrayed Don John in Kenneth Branagh's 1993 film adaptation of Much Ado About Nothing.
Griffin is a serial killer from Los Angeles who targets young women who do not have any close relatives or friends, and therefore won't be missed. He stalks them until he knows their routine, and then kills them by strangling them with piano wire.
He becomes fixated on Joel Campbell, the lead FBI investigator on the case, and chooses as his next victim Campbell's girlfriend Lisa Anton. He ties her up and sets her house on fire, escaping moments before Campbell arrives. Lisa dies in the fire, and Campbell falls into a deep depression in which he suffers from frequent migraines. he retires from the FBI and moves to Chicago. Griffin follows him there after his "relationship" with Campbell's replacement "doesn't work out".
Campbell discovers that a young woman was recently murdered in his apartment building, and finds a photograph of the woman in his mail that was sent to him three days before the murder took place. Campbell speaks to the detectives on the case and deduces that Griffin is the killer. Meanwhile, Griffin makes conversation with a young woman working at a camera store and takes several photographs of her before leaving. Later on, he phones Campbell at his apartment and tells him that he followed Campbell to Chicago in order to rebuild the "rapport" they once had. Griffin also reveals that he will send a photograph to Campbell of his next intended victim (the woman at the camera store), and Campbell has until 9:00pm the following evening to find her.
Campbell takes the case and he and his FBI team frantically search for the woman, but they ultimately fail to reach her in time and Griffin slits her throat at 9:00pm. He then meets with another young woman begging for money on the street, and he once again photographs her and mails it to Campbell. Despite having never seen Griffin in person, Campbell suspects he is being watched by the killer outside a cafe and searches the parked cars outside. Griffin immediately drives off at speed and Campbell chases after him in his car, along with several other police cars. Griffin evades capture and Campbell is run off the road, sustaining an injury in the process that eventually renders him hospitalised. Griffin ignites a trail of gasoline that destroys the approaching police cars and escapes unharmed, and then proceeds to kill the woman he met on the street.
The following day, Campbell receives another photograph, showing an image of Lisa Anton. Campbell immediately goes to Lisa's grave, where Griffin is waiting for him. Griffin tells him that he has Campbell's psychiatrist, Dr. Polly Beilman, tied up in a location that only he is aware of. Campbell agrees to talk with Griffin as soon as he shows him where Beilman is, to which Griffin eventually complies. Griffin directs Campbell in his car to Beilman's location, and during the drive Griffin tells Campbell that he has always considered him as a close friend. At the same time, Campbell secretly phones one of his fellow FBI agents so that he can listen in on their conversation. Griffin and Campbell then arrive at a warehouse at the top of a tall building, where Beilman is tied up and surrounded by gasoline canisters and lit candles.
Inside, Griffin knocks Campbell out before telling him that he wants some appreciation for saving him from his lonely and miserable life. When Campbell tells Griffin that he is simply part of his job, he begins strangling Beilman with piano wire. Campbell finally distracts him by saying "thank you", but as Griffin approaches him, Campbell stabs him in the neck with a pen and kicks him into a nearby table supporting several candles. As the warehouse is ignited, Griffin aims a gun at Campbell, but Campbell quickly grabs a shotgun stashed in the warehouse and shoots Griffin in the shoulder. He then proceeds to rescue Beilman and they leap out of the window into the river below, closely followed by Griffin. The warehouse finally explodes and Griffin is engulfed in a huge fireball, sending his burning body plunging into the river. Campbell then goes to inspect Griffin's floating charred corpse to make sure that he is dead.