The Watcher in the Woods - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

The Watcher in the Woods Reviews

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December 27, 2016
despite bette Davis best efforts she can't lift this spooky tale above mediocre
February 3, 2016
It is quite nice to see Bette every now and again, upstaging all others around her.
January 30, 2016
Awesome Cool Chiling
September 8, 2015
Casting is poor and the uneven plot is subtle when it needs a shout and is excessive when less is required. It seems the director couldn't quite decide if this should be a science fiction movie or one about the occult and the alternate endings, if you have the misfortune of watching them, removes any doubt about the directors inability to know what to do with this mess. Poor Betty Davis-I can only imagine what was going through her mind-Something like, "Why didn't I read this script before I took this job?!!!!"
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.
April 10, 2015
A kiddie scary movie that runs a tad too long.
½ February 2, 2015
This is an interesting Disney Horror film. It is perhaps no surprise that this experienced production problems. Due to the dark tone the ending was filmed several times. It isn't completely unfair to draw comparisons with films such as The Shining and The Evil Dead, both of which were released around the same time as this. Perhaps this was a case of poor judgement. It is neither a full-on horror film, nor is it a childrens film. It is an interesting one though and despite a slightly goofy final act it is compelling overall.
November 9, 2014
***Due to the recent RT changes that have basically ruined my past reviews, I mostly only giving a rating rather than a full review.***
November 1, 2014
I remember an excellent, creepy '80s feel.
November 1, 2014
Superb story telling. Powerful, magical & a real one of a kind classic!
August 23, 2014
I want to see it because i was told this was preety scary so I would like to see if that's true.
January 6, 2014
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)
½ November 20, 2013
Saw this when I was like 5. Haven't seen it since, but some of the scenes stuck with me. Couldn't remember what it was called until the other day & rewatched it. Not terrible, but if it weren't for the nostalgia, I don't think I'd call it good.
October 26, 2013
this film isn't very scary nor frightening as 'Something Wicked This Way Comes'
it's just a lot of explaining and explaining
at times they'll cut to a creepy scene involving the ghost and the possession taking place but that's all
no horror here just tedium
Super Reviewer
September 20, 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.
June 6, 2013
This sad attempt by Disney to make a horror movie didn't go over so well. The plot was predictable, the acting was bad, the execution was cheesy, and it wasn't scary. It was hardly even suspenseful.

PLOT:Jan Curtis (Lynn-Holly Johnson) and her family have been house-hunting for quite a while now but have finally found a secluded, English mansion in the woods. The mansion was previously owned by a creepy old lady named Mrs. Aylwood (Bette Davis) who's daughter disappeared near the property. Things are going fairly well for the family until creepy things start happening to Jan and her little sister. Jan catches wind of the story of Mrs. Aylwood's daughter eventually, and then starts to investigate her disappearance as it has a strange effect on her and her family. Little does she know that there's a dark history behind a few of this area's residents. It's a decent plot executed horribly.

ACTING:The acting in this movie is pretty bad. The only decent performance was Bette Midler as Mrs. Aylwood, and that was just decent. The rest of the acting was purely bad. The worst performances would have to have been by Carroll Baker as Helen Curtis and Lynn-Holly Johnson as Jan Curtis. There were a couple of okay performances by the likes of Ian Bannen and Eleanor Summerfield as Mrs. Thayer. They weren't too bad.

SCORE:The score was decent. The themes were pretty unique and creepy. They kind of reminded me of an early Argento-type score.

EFFECTS:The effects were pretty cheesy and cheaply used. The effects probably would've been better if used wiser. However, their use was lame and cheesy.

OTHER CONTENT:This movie was just a failed attempt for Disney at trying to make a horror movie. Firstly, the plot was shallowly predictable. I saw almost everything coming. Secondly, most of the twists in the movie were just as cheesy as they were predictable. I found myself either bored or laughing at the things that happened, up until the end where it just seemed tired and overbearing. Thirdly, the movie was neither scary nor very suspenseful. Nothing but maybe a miniature jump scare in the middle scared me. I found myself waiting for something to happen when nothing ever did. As for suspense, there was a good bit, but it didn't lead up to anything interesting so it was just wasted time. I found myself wondering why I even wasted my time on this. It had the spirit of an old, cheesy horror flick, but it didn't add any style to make up for it.

OVERALL,a sucky horror movie with a horribly-executed plot, bad acting, decent score, cheesy and misused effects, shallow predictability, cheesy plot twists, no scares and wasted suspense, but there was one good performance, and the score seemed to be the only thing with potential.
June 6, 2013
This sad attempt by Disney to make a horror movie didn't go over so well. The plot was predictable, the acting was bad, the execution was cheesy, and it wasn't scary. It was hardly even suspenseful.

PLOT:Jan Curtis (Lynn-Holly Johnson) and her family have been house-hunting for quite a while now but have finally found a secluded, English mansion in the woods. The mansion was previously owned by a creepy old lady named Mrs. Aylwood (Bette Davis) who's daughter disappeared near the property. Things are going fairly well for the family until creepy things start happening to Jan and her little sister. Jan catches wind of the story of Mrs. Aylwood's daughter eventually, and then starts to investigate her disappearance as it has a strange effect on her and her family. Little does she know that there's a dark history behind a few of this area's residents. It's a decent plot executed horribly.

ACTING:The acting in this movie is pretty bad. The only decent performance was Bette Midler as Mrs. Aylwood, and that was just decent. The rest of the acting was purely bad. The worst performances would have to have been by Carroll Baker as Helen Curtis and Lynn-Holly Johnson as Jan Curtis. There were a couple of okay performances by the likes of Ian Bannen and Eleanor Summerfield as Mrs. Thayer. They weren't too bad.

SCORE:The score was decent. The themes were pretty unique and creepy. They kind of reminded me of an early Argento-type score.

EFFECTS:The effects were pretty cheesy and cheaply used. The effects probably would've been better if used wiser. However, their use was lame and cheesy.

OTHER CONTENT:This movie was just a failed attempt for Disney at trying to make a horror movie. Firstly, the plot was shallowly predictable. I saw almost everything coming. Secondly, most of the twists in the movie were just as cheesy as they were predictable. I found myself either bored or laughing at the things that happened, up until the end where it just seemed tired and overbearing. Thirdly, the movie was neither scary nor very suspenseful. Nothing but maybe a miniature jump scare in the middle scared me. I found myself waiting for something to happen when nothing ever did. As for suspense, there was a good bit, but it didn't lead up to anything interesting so it was just wasted time. I found myself wondering why I even wasted my time on this. It had the spirit of an old, cheesy horror flick, but it didn't add any style to make up for it.

OVERALL,a sucky horror movie with a horribly-executed plot, bad acting, decent score, cheesy and misused effects, shallow predictability, cheesy plot twists, no scares and wasted suspense, but there was one good performance, and the score seemed to be the only thing with potential.
May 25, 2013
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!
May 15, 2013
Not a masterpiece, but a sadly overlooked horror gem from Disney--Atmospheric, Genuinely Spooky Horror Film!!
½ March 4, 2013
Y'all probably know that family-friendly horror films are important to me. Spooky and scary movies are an integral part of growing up and The Watcher In The Woods is another one from my childhood that bears significance. It's one of the most daring and intrepid Disney movies I know of. Clearly aimed at a young audience, the movie presents itself as a ghost story and it confronts its junior audience with some very challenging concepts. The story is of a family who move into an old remote homestead where a tragedy once occurred. A young girl disappeared never to be seen again and she makes her presence known to the two daughters of the house's new occupants. Her haunting is very chilling as she appears blindfolded, distressed and calling for help. And so the two daughters set about solving the mystery of her disappearance. I have read that the production was very troubled with 100+ endings being scripted. I do admit that the finale is kind of disappointing as an adult but I recall it being totally mystifying as a kid. The film is excellently paced, well shot and nicely acted. Whether it will appeal to todays generation of kids who demand fast-paced and action-riddled movies, is uncertain but to kids with a sense of wonder and patience, The Watcher in the Woods is a very exciting adventure and a beautiful introduction into horror.
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