The Watchers: Is Lair of Love a Real Reality Show?

In ‘The Watchers,’ a group of lost people are stuck in a cabin in the middle of the woods, unable to venture out at night. As they are stalked and observed by the mysterious Watchers on the other side of a massive one-way mirror, Mina and her companions engage in mindless tasks to bide their time. One of the things that keeps her company during this harrowing period is recordings of a reality TV show called ‘Lair of Love.’ The show revolves around twelve contestants trapped in a house who must develop romantic relationships with those competing. Symbolic of the group stranded in the cabin being stalked by the Watchers, the show becomes an intriguing way to dissect the narrative, prompting questions regarding its authenticity.

Lair of Love is a Fictional Show

Although the predicament of Mina and her group is partially reflected in the concept of ‘Lair of Love’ depicted in ‘The Watchers,’ it is a made-up reality TV show. It was conceived by director Ishana Shyamalan, who used it to illustrate the unnatural ways in which the Watchers observe the group in their cabin in the woods. While the show is somewhat harmless and less perverse, silent observation and peering into ordinary people’s lives are common themes across the central narrative and the fictional world of ‘Lair of Love.’ As the recordings belong to Professor Rory Kilmartin, he likely used them as a reference for the behaviors exhibited by the Watchers. It is a means to gain psychological insight into the minds of the mysterious creatures on the other side of the glass.

‘Lair of Love’ may not exist in real life, but shows like ‘Love Island‘ were noted as inspiration by the filmmaker. Writer and Director Ishana Shyamalan found parallels between the reality show and the situation depicted in her film. “I was watching ‘Love Island’ as I was writing the script,” she told Variety. “I am just so enjoying these people flirting with each other and getting emotional, and just obsessively watching these characters and connecting to them. And it felt very much like the experience of what was happening in the coop: they’re sort of being observed in their humanity. It felt like a really wonderful kind of thing to juxtapose this world.” During filming, Shyamalan and Dakota Fanning, who plays Mina, had sessions discussing the events of each episode, as they were both invested in the show.

Love Island

While ‘Love Island’ may have inspired ‘Lair of Love,’ a similarly named game show titled ‘Labor of Love‘ can be found in reality. The 2020 show features 15 men who have to compete for the approval of one woman, Kristy Katzmann, on the basis of their charm and parenting ability. Whoever is deemed to match her standards progresses to the next round, while those who don’t are knocked out. The show’s final winner is Katzmann’s suitor in her quest to start a family of her own. The two shows – ‘Lair of Love’ and ‘Labor of Love’ – may share similar names, but their game show premise differs. In the case of the former, the contestants are equally distributed among guys and girls, which isn’t the case with the latter, as it’s a group of men competing for the affection of one woman.

The purpose of including ‘Lair of Love’ in ‘The Watchers’ is to hint at the disturbing facet of stalking behavior depicted in the narrative. The reality show serves as a commentary on the Watchers themselves, bringing to the fore how eerie and unnatural their fixation is with human beings. While the piece of media appears briefly throughout the film, it serves as a haunting reminder of the lack of privacy, identity, and security that Mina and her group are subjected to in their tiny cabin, where their every move is monitored. The show may be fictional in its conception, but it is a general representation of the invasion into people’s lives, which is commonplace in reality shows and even more so in ‘The Watchers.’

Read more: The Watchers (2024): Is the Movie Based on a Book?