6.4/10
4,484
87 user 28 critic

The Watcher in the Woods (1980)

PG | | Family, Horror, Mystery | 1981 (Mexico)
When a family moves to a country home, the young girls experience strange happenings that have a link to an occult event years past.

Directors:

, (uncredited)

Writers:

(screenplay), (novel) | 2 more credits »
Reviews

On Disc

at Amazon

1 win & 4 nominations. See more awards »
Edit

Cast

Cast overview:
...
...
...
...
...
...
Mike Fleming
Frances Cuka ...
Richard Pasco ...
...
Katharine Levy ...
Eleanor Summerfield ...
...
Young Mrs. Aylwood
Edit

Storyline

When a normal American family moves into a beautiful old English house in a wooded area, strange, paranormal appearances befall them in this interesting twist to the well-known haunted-house tale. Their daughter Jan sees, and daughter Ellie hears, the voice of a young teenage girl who mysteriously disappeared during a total solar eclipse decades before... Written by Michael Ducharme <ducharme@escape.ca>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

Something Is Watching. Something Unknown. See more »


Certificate:

PG | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
Edit

Details

Official Sites:

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

1981 (Mexico)  »

Also Known As:

A Watcher in the Woods  »

Edit

Box Office

Gross USA:

$5,000,000
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Production Co:

 »
Show more on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Color:

(Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.75 : 1
See  »
Edit

Did You Know?

Trivia

The house that Mr. Keller / John Keller (Ian Bannen) lives in previously also portrayed "Hill House" in the original version of The Haunting (1963) directed by Robert Wise from the novel by Shirley Jackson. The real life building is called "Ettington Park Manor" and is situated in Ettington Park in Warwickshire, England, UK. See more »

Goofs

In the alternate ending, when the alien ascends with Jan in its arms, the wires used to cause ascension are clearly visible. See more »

Quotes

Paul Curtis: You know how old mirrors are. I never made a move yet without something getting broken.
Ellie Curtis: Hey, that's seven years' bad luck!
Paul Curtis: Nonsense. I broke a mirror the day I met your mother.
Helen Curtis: I'm not sure that makes your point, darling.
See more »

Connections

Spoofed in Winnie the Pooh (2011) See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

 
72yo Bette Davis in a Disney Family Suspense-Thriller
18 October 2007 | by See all my reviews

It's an interesting contrast to experience Bette Davis in a Disney family suspense thriller--maybe the scariest Disney flick ever made. If anyone could have been more mysterious & bewitchingly secretive, I can't imagine who. I have the 1998 VHS that has a cover with a marvelous photograph of Davis on the back.

Florence Engel Randall's plot in her novel, "A Watcher in the Woods," goes like this: The Curtis family, Helen (Carroll Baker), her husband Paul (David McCullum), & their 2 daughters, Jan (Lynn-Holly Johnson) & Ellie (Kyle Richards), rent an old English manor from it's owner, Mrs. Aylwood (Bette Davis), who lives in the guest cottage. The lady of the manor seems to be haunting, mean & eerily eccentric.

Jan experiences some paranormal events immediately after moving into the manor. For one thing, she can't see her own reflection in a bedroom mirror. Then, Jan begins to strongly sense that someone is watching her in the woods. Neither Helen nor Paul are keen about the girls spending time with Mrs. Aylwood. But, as Jan becomes more scared & curious about who or what is in the woods, the pre-teen begins investigating, starting with Mrs. Aylwood.

After Jan goes into Mrs. Aylwood's cottage to talk with her about the mysterious phenomena that she's noticed, the secret of the woods starts to be revealed by Mrs. Aylwood. Although she's very reluctant to talk about it, Mrs. Aylwood tells Jan the story about her pre-teen daughter's disappearance in the same woods 30 years ago.

The supernatural cinematic effects are well done. Bette Davis' subdued performance as a mysterious older woman makes the show a spine-tingling thriller. The suspense builds to a climax that is not predictable. The settings are spot-on & befitting for a haunted mood.

Keeping in mind that the genre of this movie is a family suspense suitable for children, I found it to be excellent.


28 of 34 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?
Review this title | See all 87 user reviews »

Contribute to This Page

Paul Scheer on Why There Are No Bad Movies

Paul Scheer discusses The Disaster Artist and his love of awesomely bad movies. Plus, we dive into the origins of midnight movies and explore how The Room became a cult classic.

Watch now