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Disney betrayed me and I'm still not over it !!!I
The Watcher in the Woods (DVD)
Member Name: kirstymc
The Watcher in the Woods (DVD)
Date: 21/03/11, updated on 21/03/11 (26 review reads)
Advantages: Brilliant example of classic Haunted House horror.
Disadvantages: Sleepless nights...
If you think Disney could never be scary then you have not seen The Watcher in the Woods. The Watcher in the Woods is such a spooky film you would think it was made by Disney in a reverse dimension where everything is not sweet and schmaltzy but is terrifying and dangerous. Tom Leech pitched The Watcher in the Woods to Disney as "our Exorcist" so that should be an indication of what this film is like.
This is a brilliant example of a good Haunted House horror. It has everything from strange lights to seances to apparitions in mirrors to possessed children speaking backwards!!!
A young American family have moved to an old English country house in the woods. Mrs Aylwood played by the fabulously sinister Bette Davis is the owner of the house. From the opening credits we know that all is not right at the house. Strange lights appear in the woods leading the children of the house Jan and Ellie to investigate - what follows is truly frightening. It is revealed that Mrs Aylwoods daughter Karen disappeared years earlier during a childish initiation ceremony. She is trapped in the woods somewhere and tries to call out to the present day children to help her get home.
This is a brilliant horror from Disney which plays on all of the classic elements of traditional ghost stories. It is essentially a kids film (with a PG rating) but it is just as likely to keep adults awake at night too. My mam first let me watch this film when I was about 8 years old and I have never really forgiven her. I recently purchased it from Amazon, being older I thought I would laugh at how scared I was of this film as a child - I was wrong! The Watcher in the Woods is just as spooky for a 30 something. There is a particular scene when Jan is at the fair and the blindfolded Karen appears to her in the hall of mirrors that is really frightening. I still cannot go into a hall of mirrors to this day. My little sister used to speak backwards and write things backwards on the bathroom mirror to freak me out just like the little girl in the movie. This flim is full of atmosphere and suspense not least due to the musical score (which I can hear in my head as I write this) and a spectacularly spooky performance from Bette Davis. The Watcher in the Woods was actually on TV quite recently and my boyfriend stumbled across it channel hopping whilst I was in the other room - I heard the music and was immediately transported back to being a frightened 8 year old and demanded it was turned off. If you like a good spook then this is the film for you.
I don't think I have ever seen such a genuinely scary kids film and I do not think Disney would make a film like this today.
If you have seen this film as a child I know you will empathise with the comments above.
This is a great introduction to horror films for older children. If you want to spook the kids on Halloween turn of the lights and sit them in front of The Watcher in the Woods.
Summary: Disney does horror and does it well !!!