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DVD Review: 'Watcher In The Woods' january 30 2005, 03:05 pm
submitted by: normal mc

Watcher In The Woods

Before they sold out completely, what with their uber-family friend crap, direct-to-video sequels and lame fast food corporate tie-in’s, Disney was known for their dark, supernatural thrillers. Specifically, the ‘pair of sisters, set in England, pseudo occult-ish with detached parents, ‘The Shining’ for kiddies’ sub genre.

Kidding. But if they were known for that, let me offer ‘Watcher in the Woods’ as Exhibit A.

Let me try to keep this review as short as possible, because if I think any more about this movie my brain may explode. Two sisters move into a spooky old house with their hardly-ever-there parents (the mother a successful children’s writer, eerily presaging J.K Rowling, perhaps), owned by the curmudgeonly spooky Bette Davis. Bette Davis’ character had a daughter, Karen, who disappeared under odd circumstances almost thirty years ago. Does that have anything to do with the hormones-ablaze, older sister Jan seeing ghostly apparitions in every reflecting surface she looks at? Does it have anything to do with Ellie, the younger sister, hearing things and attributing them to the Jan sister, though she wasn’t the one talking?

And the spooky triumvirate of locals who were the last to see Karen alive, where do they fit in? The ringleader of the supposed cult lives in lonely decadence, preferring to speak with only his lower jaw. One lives in a shack in the woods with dead animals hanging from the ceiling. The last is now a widow, whose son is hot-to-trot for the older daughter.

Backwards writing! Channeling! Jan nearly drowns! They named the dog ‘Nerak’! That’s Karen backwards! Ooooooooooooooooooooooh!

Does it resolve nicely? No. Does it make sense? It does not. It’s actually quite a scary movie until the end when a number of possible ‘explanations’ all surface at once, in a no holds barred battle royal for the ‘shittiest resolution of plot, ever’ title belt. If you throw in the fact that Karen finally returns looking like the world’s youngest pre-op tranny, well then you have a remarkably bad film. I haven’t seen a wig this bad since… no; I have never seen a wig this bad! I sat with eyes wide open, mouth agape wondering ‘how in the hell did they get away with casting that monstrosity as the lost child’? My three theories regarding the actress (actor?) who played Karen:

  • Mongoloid daughter or all-grows-up thalidomide baby of a studio exec.
  • The first ever ‘Make A Wish’ kid who wanted desperately to be in a Disney film.
  • Burn victim.

  • You get the feeling that Bette Davis hadn’t known her daughter was to be cast so ugly during their tearful reunion. You know as soon as the director yelled ‘cut’ she was chain-smoking Pall Malls on the phone to her agents, raspy and dramatically asking to ‘get me the hell out of this picture’!

    As a film, it gets two Arfies. One half an Arfie for Bette Davis, though the rumor that Kim Carnes’ hit based on her eyes was rejected as the theme to this movie proved to be false. The other half an Arfie is for the balls Disney once had to make movies for kids without talking animals, long musical numbers, cheery candlesticks and chim-chim-cherree.

    The other Arfie is for the DVD - worth checking out for the two alternate endings. Yes, that’s right. Two. Both involve an alien; hitherto fore unseen in any cut of the film Apparently, there is your titular ‘watcher’. The trailers are fantastic too. They almost make this movie look, um, good.

    comments...   add a comment...

    dj tanner
    dj tanner 4789 posts
    comment no. 1

    I'll take "More bad movies made in 1980" for $400, Alex... What is "Flash Gordon"?

    blackwidow 1056 posts
    comment no. 2

    I'm confused...should I see this movie just to witness firsthand the bad acting and confused ending? Or bypass it altogether?

    And thanks, Norm, for giving us an article!

    robert troll
    robert troll 566 posts
    comment no. 3

    Flash OHHHHH! I loved that movie - Hoe how bout posting a pic of the actress.

    dj tanner
    dj tanner 4789 posts
    comment no. 4

    From Flash? You mean her...

    flash... ahhhh!

    robert troll
    robert troll 566 posts
    comment no. 5

    No actually i was speaking of the "Mongoloid daughter or all-grows-up thalidomide baby of a studio exec"

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