6.4/10
4,865
87 user 32 critic

The Watcher in the Woods (1980)

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:

John Hough, Vincent McEveety (uncredited)

Writers:

Brian Clemens (screenplay), Florence Engel Randall (novel) | 2 more credits »
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1 win & 4 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview:
Bette Davis ... Mrs. Aylwood
Lynn-Holly Johnson ... Jan Curtis
Kyle Richards ... Ellie Curtis
Carroll Baker ... Helen Curtis
David McCallum ... Paul Curtis
Benedict Taylor ... Mike Fleming
Frances Cuka ... Mary Fleming
Richard Pasco Richard Pasco ... Tom Colley
Ian Bannen ... John Keller
Katharine Levy Katharine Levy ... Karen Aylwood
Eleanor Summerfield Eleanor Summerfield ... Mrs. Thayer
Georgina Hale ... Young Mrs. Aylwood
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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:

As You've Never Seen It Before See more »


Certificate:

PG | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Official Sites:

Disney's Official Site

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

9 October 1981 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

A Watcher in the Woods See more »

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Box Office

Gross USA:

$5,000,000
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Dolby

Color:

Color (Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.75 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Academy Award Nominee Quinn Cummings was offered the role of Ellie but declined See more »

Goofs

After Mrs. Alywood saves Jan from drowning in the pond they are in Mrs. Alywood's cottage talking. Jan's bangs change from being spread out across her forehead to being all together. See more »

Quotes

Jan Curtis: Mr. Keller I had to see you, it's about Karen Aylwood.
John Keller: What about Karen Aylwood?
Jan Curtis: She needs help.
John Keller: How would you know that?
Jan Curtis: I've seen her.
John Keller: Where?
Jan Curtis: In mirrors!
John Keller: Oh, mirrors. You say you see yourself as Karen?
Jan Curtis: No! It was her image. Why was she blindfolded at the chapel? I've got to find out what happened that night, it's important to me.
John Keller: Why dear? It's none of your business!
[...]
See more »

Alternate Versions

Original version ran 100 minutes. Notorious for the numerous ending recuts, the film runs 84 minutes. However, you can see some deleted footage in Jan's flashback dream. You see a flashback at the carnival in which Mike says "We've got to hurry!". See more »

Connections

References The Legend of Hell House (1973) See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

 
So-so
6 January 2003 | by preppy-3See all my reviews

An all-American family (mom Carroll Baker, dad David McCallum and daughters Lynn-Holly Johnson and Kyle Richards) move into a beautiful estate in Britain watched over by the houses owner (Bette Davis). But Johnson feels something watching her from the woods surrounding the house and little sister Richards is acting VERY strange. And how about Johnson looking just like Davis' daughter that disappeared 30 years ago?

Weird hybrid of ghost story and sci-fi from Disney. This was one of their failed attempts to make PG films in the 70s and 80s. This movie isn't totally horrible--it's well-directed with some very creepy scenes--the forest scenes are spooky and atmospheric and there is a very scary hall of mirrors sequence. The main problem with this is that the final explanation of what's going on makes no sense and Johnson is a lousy actress. Also father McCallum disappears completely halfway through and the ending (which Disney changed THREE times) is an absolute mess.

So, it's OK but (sadly) doesn't hold up.


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