The Watcher in the Woods Reviews

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Super Reviewer
February 16, 2013
I think it's fair to say that Disney was just trying to jump on the horror bandwagon with this movie. That totally brings down the integrity of this. At least it is based on a novel. Although the story is somewhat chilling, only kids will be scared, and not by much. It might be better to read this instead because the story is good. I just wish this movie was better.
Super Reviewer
October 21, 2011
The Watcher in the Woods is a surprising film for a Disney film. The film quite chilling, and scary at times. For a ghost story, the film works well enough to entertain. The Watcher in the Woods has gotten so many bad reviews, which is a shame because there is a good horror film here. The film is not the best, but as a ghost tale, it's effective enough to chill you and creep you out. I enjoyed the film despite the fact that some of the actors were annoying (Lynn-Holly Johnson). This film is underrated and if you're looking for an effective, chilling horror tale to watch during the Halloween season, The Watcher in the Woods is a good choice for a night of chills. For a Disney film, The Watcher in the Woods is a surprising dark film and you'd never guess that Disney produced it. The terror is effective, and director John Hugh knows how to steadily build up the plot to an electrifying climax. I thought that Johnson was a decent choice to play the lead, even if she's not perfect. I felt that her character was good, but a tad bland. The Watcher in the Woods is a good horror film that is underrated, and if you're looking for a chilling ghost story, then this is the film for you. This is an underrated film that has some effective chilling moments on-screen, and the film definitely is a must see despite its flaws. In the end, The Watcher in the Woods is a fun horror film to watch.
Super Reviewer
½ December 23, 2007
Mediocre scare flick, rather dark for a Disney film but not really very frightening. Lynn-Holly Johnson is an appallingly bad actress ruining every scene she's in. Old pros McCallum and Carroll Baker are wasted. Poor Bette Davis is spared nothing, made to look perhaps the worst she ever did on screen except in Baby Jane where at least she was supposed to look bad. She's still the most compelling presence in the film in her brief scenes.
Super Reviewer
April 7, 2008
It's hard to fathom what Disney were trying to do with this messy horror picture; "The Watcher in the Woods" is more likely to upset rather than enchant young children, and older, more discerning viewers will probably find it as toothless as it is incoherent. It was infamously chopped about and re-shot by the studio and, consequently, makes very little sense. Although there's a good deal of subjective, "Watcher's-eye-view" camerawork, disappointingly we don't ever get to see the creature itself. However, the atmosphere is reasonably potent and there are a couple of spookily effective moments. Bette Davis makes a late-career appearance, but she's only on hand to look vaguely sinister and contributes little more than a cameo. Interestingly, the film cribs a couple of elements from "The Shining", namely ESP and backwards writing. Undoubtedly, the worst thing about the movie is the awful lead performance of Lynn-Holly Johnson, who some people may remember being equally bad as the figure-skater in "For Your Eyes Only".
Super Reviewer
April 5, 2008
Two young sisters move to a house in woods. Soon there are mysterious sightings of a girl who went missing decades ago.
Super Reviewer
½ January 11, 2008
This is a Disney Film, With Betty Davis, Think thats why it was on my rent list. An Ok Film, will not add to my collection unless its found in a pawn shop. Betty Davis has alwaysn scare me since seeing Hush Hush Sweet Charlotte. Now that was a scarey B&W Movie. Rent it and enjoy, just don't expect to much
Super Reviewer
June 7, 2007
Disney was brave to make this horror film for youth. Overall, it's got a great story, and a bunch of creepy and frightening scenes. Bette Davis delivers an astounding performance. Lynn Holly-Johnson and Kyle Richards are funny to watch. It's a great ride overall. Check out the alternate endings on the DVD.
Super Reviewer
May 12, 2007
Now here's an interesting paradox - a serious horror movie for the kiddy crowd. It works on a few levels, but awful acting and a weird ending kind of relegate it to its current place in Obscure Disney Movie History.

Regardless, this is actually a really good pick for a sharp younger child who's getting bored of all the big-eyed orphan animal adventures, and not a slouch for older audiences either.

I just watched this again for the first time in five years last night, and I have to's a really bizarre film. Certainly a better concept than its execution allowed (Disney certainly shot this one in the foot), but an enjoyable flick on all levels. I submit this one to my Guilty Pleasures list. :D
Super Reviewer
½ January 12, 2010
I liked it for it's cheesy 70's era style of film (even though it was released in 1981). However the story was messy and didn't really make any sense, even when it was all revealed at the end. I wouldn't watch this again.
April 25, 2015
An American family moves to the English countryside only to learn the manor where they now reside is being haunted by the owner's long-dead daughter (it wasn't made clear if the dead daughter had inherited her mother's eyes). A series of spooky events occur including several Final Destination-style near-misses. PG-scares don't add much to a well-filmed, yet poorly acted Disney horror film.
October 1, 2010
A bizarre and chilling feature that was one of the very first Disney movies to receive a PG rating. With so much left unexplained I found it to be confusing, although the mysterious and dark nature of the film is what makes it worth watching. (First viewing - In my early mid-twenties)
April 20, 2009
Shockingly dark for a Disney flick! Disney has always used a lot of mysticism and they hit the nail on the head with "The Watcher In the Woods." I was impressed that a Disney movie could effectively creep me out and I question whether young kids could handle this (though I believe that the movie was intended for families). The first person cinematography representative of "The Watcher" was very well done, particularly the long uncut scene as The Watcher follows Jan through the woods. You really won't be able to predict which direction this movie will take next. Though the acting isn't the best and the movie is pretty dated, it's still an enjoyable story that will hold your attention for the entire 80 minute film!
½ September 23, 2012
I remember seeing this in the theater when I was very young & it frightening me. This evening was the first time I've watched it since then and now realize how bad much of the acting actually was. Still, it was a trip down memory lane & I've definitley seen much worse. The dvd had 2 alternate endings so I of course had to watch those. Thank goodness they didn't use either of those endings! Not only are they cheesy but they don't match the rest of the movie. Plus, in those endings when Karen finally comes back, she totally looks like a drag queen.
June 4, 2009
I haven't seen this movie since i was in middle school...but i loved it then. I've been looking for it and no one seems to know what it is. For those of you haven't seen it, you should. I can't wait to see it agian to see if i like it as well as i did 15 years ago.
½ August 24, 2008
If you want to STAY scared (because, yes, for some bizarro reason this DISNEY-rated, PG movie, scared me a litte!) turn it off BEFORE the end. You'll stay all creeped out. But watch till the end and you'll end up going, What the...
½ July 6, 2007
This movie pretty good for a disney horror movie. It would be a lot better if they had a better ending. (Watch the alternate endings...they are SO stupid it makes you grateful for the one they have).
½ October 2, 2007
I was afraid of being alone in the woods for quite a while after watching this "family friendly" scary movie. (In other words, it's clean but it's still dang spooky). I believe it was actually released by Disney, so it keeps it clean. Good to watch with younger scare-lovers.
August 9, 2007
i read the book & saw the movie when i was very young - would see it again to give it a real review - but from what i remember it was good & creepy
May 19, 2007
Some may say it is cheesy and not scary! But when I was a kid me and my friends would watch this again and again! Got me every time!
May 2, 2007
Used to be one of my favorite movies to watch. Talk about a suspension movie! It really keeps you on your toes and wondering through the entire movie.
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