Movie Roulette: The Watcher in the Woods Review
Released in 1980 by Walt Disney
Starring: Bette Davis, Lynn-Holly Johnson, Kyle Richards, Carroll Baker
Disney does horror? Is that even possible? Most certainly in this 1980 movie, no expense is spared for some intense scare moments. A family moves into a large country home and soon the two young daughters experience strange happenings that link back to an occult event that went terribly wrong.
They see a young girl caught in a mirror blindfolded crying out for help. No one knows who she is or how she ended there except Mrs. Aylwood. It is discovered that she was pulled into a parallel universe one day when friends gathered to play an occult game. What does the girl want? Can they in fact help her 30 years later?
This movie is amazing. I remember seeing it when I was 6 or 7 and it stuck with me all the time. I saw it back many years later and was surprised at how creepy it was. I was also wondering why my 6 year old self wasn’t terrified of it.
Bette Davis is simply superb as Mrs. Aylwood, her performance is very subdued and that is what makes it even more scarier. It is odd to see a movie of this caliber fall under the name of Disney because we all know Disney only for the perky, feel good, family stuff, not the grind your teeth and hide yourself behind splayed fingers pieces of art. And still it testifies to a time when Disney dared to break the cookie cutter mold it so rigidly follows this day and age to produce this artwork.
It is a little gem known and seen by few so this is my way of telling you to try and see it. It is out on DVD. The music, scenery and the woods themselves also play great characters in this movie. I sincerely cannot recommend it enough. It is simply magic in more ways than one. I am sure if you go find it you will not regret seeing it. To me it is a cult classic, albeit seemingly an often overlooked one.