Mission 2: Disney - Watcher in the Woods


I remembered Watcher in the Woods being super creepy when I was a kid. The Disney live action movies cover a wide range of genres. This particular movie is a supernatural thriller. I still like it, although watching it as an adult as brought up some interesting things.

First is the fact that as I child I had zero appreciation for things like plot and continuity. This movie is about a girl who must help correct a dimensional mistake that took place thirty years prior. The mistake caused an inter-dimensional rift that resulted in a being from another dimension switching places with a teenage girl named Karen. That is the cliff notes version. So here's my problem. There is something in the woods that is trying to stop the teenage girl, Jan, from correcting the mistake. The sinister something causes accidents and makes mischief. There is also something giving Jan clues. It is unclear if these are the same sinister something or not. However at the climax of the movie the the "watcher" comes to tell everyone what to do. It seems like Disney needed some more drama so they threw in some evil antics to ramp up the suspense. The identity of the evil doer never comes to light.

Second, how did they get Bette Davis to do this movie? Bette Davis had two Oscars before this movie was even conceived and then she gets a bland part. She brought the part of Karen's broken mother to life, despite the poor writing they handed her. She was pretty old in 1980 when this play was made, but she still has those amazing eyes and talent.

The last issue I have with this movie is that it hasn't been updated. There are so many movies getting the Disney take-two treatment. Most of them are the animated classics. Most recently though was a re-do of Escape from Witch Mountain. I really think that Watcher could use an update and would stand up well through the process. Maybe they could clean up some of the plot mistakes.

Comments (2)

This movie scared the noodles outta me when I was little! I still OFTEN think of that girl in the mirror and get freaked out.

Love the blog!

First of all, let me start by saying that this movie should never be re-made - ever. Re-makes of films are, for the most part, awful things and they do almost nothing to improve upon the original film. This is a great movie. There is a lot about it you don't understand. You have to know that there was a lot going on behind the scenes that affected the outcome of the film. The version you know is the second version of the film. This movie has never, and I doubt ever will, get the treatment and respect from Disney and audiences it deserves. If it looks sloppy and like it has no continuity that's because of the management at Disney not knowing when to leave well-enough alone. This movie was meant to be Disney's first full-on horror film to compete with other studios that were having huge horror hits at the box office. And as for the script, Bette Davis loved the movie and The Walt Disney Co. However, the script did go through at least 150 re-writes so there was bound to be holes in it even though there should not have been. Also, the "plot mistakes", would all make sense were Disney to ever release the full film. It's a great movie and a great book but I fear sometimes I'm the only one who thinks so. I hope perhaps someday you give it another chance and realize what a great movie "The Watcher In The Woods" truly is.
P.S. - I like your blog and the photos you chose. Thank you for posting this and giving me another reason to praise my favorite movie. All the best!

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