A new month, a new Ryan Murphy production on Netflix to sink your teeth into. We talk about Vigilantthe new Netflix, which is undoubtedly a high-level horror show.
With a cast that includes Naomi Watts, Bobby Cannavale, Mia Farrow and the woman of the moment Jennifer Coolidge, the story begins with the Brannock family moving into a perfect looking house. Everything is a dream with white picket fences, until they start receiving letters from someone who is obsessed with the house, with the dark history behind it and, by default, now with the Brannocks themselves. From there they begin to experience all kinds of terrors and situations that would make anyone’s blood run cold.
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But, like all the spookiest urban myths made for the screen, this story has been inspired by a real life case.
In 2014, the Broaddus family bought a $1.35 million, six-bedroom home in Westfield, New Jersey, and began settling into suburban life. But, according to a 2018 report in The Cut -on which it is based Vigilant– Derek Broaddus then received a letter. It read: “How did you end up here? Did 657 Boulevard call you with its inner strength? The house has been the object of my family’s surveillance for decades, and as its 110th birthday approaches, I have manager to watch and wait for his second arrival. My grandfather watched the house in the twenties and my father in the sixties. Now it’s my turn. Do you know the history of the house? Do you know what lies between the walls of 657 of the Boulevard? Why is he here? I’ll find out.”
Despite containing more questions than an inquisitive toddler, the correspondence then became more threatening, referencing intimate details of the family, such as the nicknames of the three Broaddus children, and berating them for construction work on the house. . Another missive read: “Do you need to fill the house with the young blood I asked for? Better for me. Was your old house too small for the growing family? Or was it greed to bring me your children? When I know their names I will call them.” and i will draw them too [sic] to me”.
The Broaddus family went to the police and began a search for the author, focusing on neighbors, who might have had an advantageous position. One of those neighbors was Michael Langford, who denied any involvement and, following his death in 2020, his family continues to deny any suggestion that he was involved in the harassment. In statements to The IndependentOne brother said, “This never ends. I’m your brother; and now I own the fucking house. We were accused of doing something we didn’t do. Do we ever get a fucking apology from the police?” No, he added, they didn’t.
The Broadduses enlisted the help of a private investigator who thoroughly studied the neighbors and suggested it might be a former employee of the house, or someone from the neighborhood who wanted to bid on the property but didn’t have enough money. All investigations stalled, as noted The Cut: “The letters could be perused for possible clues, or dismissed as the pointless ramblings of a sociopath.” He even called a priest to bless the house.
After six months of terror, the family decided to sell the house, but rumors had already begun to circulate in the area and, as expected, people were not willing to move to a place that some considered cursed. The Broadduses were losing money and moved to another rental house. The letters continued, as did the suspicions of everyone around them, but not even DNA evidence from the letters could identify the culprit.
The family had an idea: if no one was willing to buy the house because of its reputation, why not tear it down and build two new houses on the lot? However, when she showed up at a neighborhood planning committee meeting, she was turned down. Some people began to take issue with the Broadduses for bringing unwanted attention to the area, while others argued that they may have been the ones sending the letters, as they had regrets about buying the house. In the end, the family was only able to rent the property, which was not covered by the mortgage.
Incredible as it may seem, no one was able to identify the person known as El Vigilante. There were several more red herrings, and a group on Reddit even got into theories when the story went viral. It was suggested that it was a jilted lover, an annoying real estate agent, marketing for a horror movie, or just “mall goths” causing trouble for laughs. Of course, now more people will emerge who will analyze the story and the possible suspects with the adaptation of the events by Netflix. As Derek Broaddus told a reporter from The Cutthe worrying situation had invaded their daily life and the family could do nothing to avoid it: “It’s like cancer. We think about it every day.”
Vigilant can be seen now on Netflix .
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The dark and mysterious true story of ‘El Vigilante’