Column, The Movie Diary

Watching and waiting

By Dom Cioffi

No parent ever wants to receive a phone call from the police regarding their child. It’s what nightmares are made of.

This past weekend, I received one of those calls. It was late Saturday morning and I was putzing around the house doing chores when my phone rang. It was my son requesting a ride home from a sleepover.

I finished up what I was doing and then hopped in my truck to head to the house where he was staying. We’re friendly with the kid’s parents, so I’d been there several times before. I pulled into their driveway about 15 minutes later, then waited 5 minutes before finally calling my son.

“Dude, you asked me for a favor,” I said. “You should have been outside waiting for me when I arrived.”

He apologized sheepishly and said he’d be right out. I could tell by the sound of his voice that he’d likely been gaming all night.

As I was waiting, I took note of the car in the driveway in front of me. My son had mentioned that his buddy just bought his first car so I assumed the vehicle I was looking at was his.

My son finally sauntered out and got into my truck. He was indeed half asleep and admitted to staying up most of the night. He had to work later that afternoon so he begged me to let him sleep more when he got home.

I took the opportunity on the ride home to lecture him about the ills of wasting his summer on video games. He listened but I could tell he wasn’t coherent enough to take it to heart, so I let up.

When we got home, he walked straight into his bedroom, shut the door, and fell into his bed, at which point, I went back to attending to my chores.

About an hour later, his buddy’s mother texted me while she was grocery shopping and asked if my son had her son’s car. Confused, I replied back that he did not and explained that I just picked him up and brought him home an hour earlier.

She immediately called me. I could tell by the tone of her voice that she was exasperated and confused. She went on to explain that when her son got up, he noticed that his car was missing. And since my son had slept over and was now gone, they all assumed that my son took it. They also tried calling him but he wasn’t answering.

I explained that my son wasn’t answering because he was dead asleep upstairs. I also told her that when I picked him up, the missing vehicle was in the driveway.

When I hung up, I assumed the issue was over at least from our perspective, but just to be sure, I went upstairs and woke up my son to confront him about what he knew. It was obvious that he was ignorant to any wrongdoing.

We then received a text that the car had magically reappeared in the driveway. I found this strange and started to think something fishy was at play.

Ten minutes later I received another phone call – this time from the police. The officer was respectful but made it very clear that if my son was involved or I was covering for my son, that legal action could be taken against us and it wouldn’t be pretty. I explained every detail to the officer as it occurred and assured him that my son had been upstairs in his bed since I picked him up and that the vehicle in question was in the driveway when I arrived at their house.

The confusion surrounding this event dragged on for the rest of the day. It all seemed so strange and suspicious.

The next day, my son went over to his friend’s house and discovered that they had received the video from their neighbor’s Ring doorbell and that the car had never left the driveway. His buddy’s mother was very apologetic, but he said it was clear no one wanted to talk about it, so he dropped the subject. I told my son that something strange had likely occurred with his buddy and that he was trying to cover it up by saying his car was stolen. I also told him that the truth would likely leak out sometime in the future.

Personally, I can’t wait for that day.

This week’s feature, “Watcher,” also involves some strange occurrences. The only difference is that the events in this film lead to chaos and death.


“Watcher” is an intense psycho-thriller that puts great emphasis on tension and anxiety, leading to an edge-of-your-seat experience that leaves you questioning every tiny event.

Check this one out if you like the serial killer genre or enjoy being pushed to the limits of tension.

An apprehensive “B-” for “Watcher,” now available at theaters everywhere.

Got a question or comment for Dom?
You can email him at

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