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Watchers (1988)

A boy takes in a stray dog, later discovering that it is an ultra-intelligent runaway being stalked by a dangerous creature from the same genetic research lab.



(based on the novel by), (screenplay) | 1 more credit »

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Cast overview, first billed only:
TV Newscaster (as Christopher Carey)
Graeme Campbell ...
Man on Boat
First TV Reporter
Tracey (as Lala)
Bill Keeshan
Deputy Porter
Sheriff Gaines
Lou Bollo ...
Man by Stream
Boy on Bike
Boy on Bike
Andrew Markey ...
Boy on Bike


Based on a novel by Dean Koontz. A boy takes in a stray dog, later finding out that its an ultra-intelligent runaway from a genetic research lab. Unknow to him, the dog is being stalked by another escaped creature thats not quite so friendly. Written by K. Rose <rcs@texas.net>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Secret experiment, Unstoppable monster, Deadly mistake... See more »


R | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:





Release Date:

2 December 1988 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Al borde del terror  »


Box Office

Gross USA:

See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs


| (DVD)

Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?


Paul Haggis wrote the original screenplay. By the time the movie was greenlighted, the Writer's Guild Strike hit and Haggis refused to do any further writing on the movie during the strike. Production was passed to Canadian producer Damien Lee who rewrote the script. Haggis read the script and took his name off it - taking credit instead as "Bill Freed", his WGA pseudonym, and insisted Damien Lee take credit for his work. See more »


Followed by Watchers II (1990) See more »


Dream Machine
Performed by Mike Reno
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User Reviews

Worst film ever based on a great novel.
27 September 2005 | by See all my reviews

Based on the excellent novel, Watchers by Dean Koontz, is this extremely awful motion picture that probably shouldn't be viewed by anyone. Not since "The Running Man" have I seen a book butchered so far beyond recognition. The difference, however, is that "The Running Man" film was still enjoyable as an amusing action film laden down a million catch phrases. This film… Nope, nothing remotely amusing. In fact, if you love the book, as I do, you'll hate this bastardization even more.

**WARNING**CONTAINS SPOILERS** Rightio, I'm basically going to tell you the story here, almost in it's entirety. Why? Because you, dear reader, do not also need to suffer through this abomination—it's okay for me, because I enjoy watching crap. Because I like complaining about sh*tty things. Now, on to the nasty: This film revolves around a boy and his mother running away from the government and a mutant-monkey-creature-soldier which escaped from a destroyed Government genetics lab with a super-smart golden retriever which the "hero" calls "Furface." Groan… Trust me, in the novel, this story rocked. I'll get to that later. Anyway, the hero is none other that dreamy boy-child Corey Haim. Oh, I'm not kidding. Our hero runs around, crackly voice and all, trying to convince his Mom to help save this dog from the "evil government" which birthed him and made him genetically ultra-smart. The monkey-creature, retardedly referred to as an "Oxcom" (God help us) is also a genetic-stew of a creature built to be the ultimate fighter on battlefields of the future. Michael Ironside (Total Recall, Starship Troopers—always plays a badass) is also in this film, and no, I couldn't figure out how anyone convinced him this would be a good idea. He plays a government agent with the NSO hunting the dog and creature. Oh yeah, here's some spoilerama: He's also a creation from the government, and the same lab, and lo and behold spends most of the movie being a prick and killing people—and all that killing is supposed to be done by the monkey-soldier. Instead of a rockin' kick-ass, creepy horror film, we have a rectal hemorrhage of a teenybopper horror flick. The dog's intelligence is discovered all-too-conveniently, and believed easier than we believe we can see clouds by looking outside. Breakdown!!

Change from Book to Film:

--Lead character (Travis) turned from man to boy-child.

--Man's love interest in book (Nora), is now his mother—and all her depth and character growth is completely gone.

--Lem Johnson, black man, is now white Mr. Ironside. This matters as the character's strength was built on his heritage in the book.

--Relationship between two authority figures completely ignored, Lem now kills the guy who was originally his best friend.

--One principle character in the book is now totally absent, the "immortal" that hunted the heroes--maybe this is supposed to be Ironside, but then why is he someone else?

--Dog never receives deserving name of "Einstein" in the movie.

--No part of the book took place in a High School—at least nothing that had strong bearing on the plot.

--Takes place over a matter of days, rather months like the book—unrealistic pacing.

--Corey Haim's girlfriend in the movie appeared in no more than two chapters in the book--and they never met in the book.

--Character of Lem Johnson is no longer cool-headed; instead, he's a total asshole that bullies his way through people.

--Hero Travis was part of Delta Force (military segment specializing in hunting terrorists), instead, his Dad, who is never seen in the film, was part of that group.

--Perceived intelligence in the monster now totally absent.

--Subplots involving Soviets and The Mob completely gutted out of the story.

--These are just the most obnoxious changes, and the one's I could remember off hand (and a day later).

The Good:

--Eventually, after 90-odd minutes of pain and mental anguish, the movie ended.

Didn't Hurt It, Didn't Help It:

--Michael Ironside—usually, I like him.

--The dog is still fairly likable.

--Wacky "totally 80's" title screen.

The Bad:

--Okay, the writing for one is extremely awful.

--The direction is so half-assed that anyone watching the film will feel superior to everyone involved in it.

--The acting is crappy and weak, especially from Corey Haim.

--Loose, weak, watered down story.

--The monster looks just pathetic, that is, when we are actually allowed to see the bloody thing. Its head is gigantically over-sized, the yellow eyes that were so much a part of the thing in the book are seen for no more than two seconds. Instead of a lean, powerful, fast, intelligent killing machine, we have some jackass in a puke-ugly monkey suit forced upon us.

--Absolutely no character development.

--Even the violence and gore are done poorly, for f*ck sakes, this is supposed to be a HORROR film!! Usually violence is at least done well!

The Ugly:

--The idea that Dean Koontz whored out his brilliant novel to become this filthy f*cking piece of sh*t brings me dangerously close to vomiting all over myself and anyone near me. There are movies worse than this (headache-inducing as that idea may seem), but so far, only "Alien vs Predator," at least to me, is a bigger travesty and more painful disappointment.

Memorable Scene: Watching the end credits start.

Acting: 3/10 Story: 4/10 (the novel was really good, this is just terrible) Atmosphere: 5/10 Cinematography: 4/10 Character Development: 1/10 Special Effects/Make-up: 4/10 Nudity/Sexuality: 0/10 Violence/Gore: 4/10 Music: 5/10 Direction: 3/10

Cheesiness: 7/10 Crappiness: 9/10

Overall: 3/10

I would recommend that no one watch this movie ever, except for a few extreme die-hard horror fans—and only if you haven't read the novel. Instead, I would recommend that anyone interested in this avoid it entirely and buy/check/borrow the book.


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