Thursday, December 16, 2010

Movie Review: The Watcher in the Woods

When I was little, I remember seeing a commercial for Buena Vista Distribution Company (or perhaps it was Disney) that featured snippets from a variety of their films. The snippets from The Watcher in the Woods always featured a ghostly blindfolded girl begging, "Help me!" This was somewhat terrifying to me. This last October Leann and I queued it up so that we could watch it for Hallowe'en. Apparently Netflix doesn't have very many copies of it because we kept getting skipped over; it went from "short wait" to "long wait" a week before Hallowe'en. It finally came just before Thanksgiving.

Netflix practices something called throttling, which is where they preferentially send in-demand DVDS [1] to customers who only receive one DVD at a time (or one DVD per month). This is probably done to ensure that they keep those customers  [2] whereas customers who have more than one DVD at a time are (presumably) less likely to become dissatisfied and resort to Redbox or Blockbuster Video. I was having trouble keeping up with the steady stream of DVDs coming to our house from Netflix, so I recently downgraded to one DVD at a time. Bam! There was Watcher in the Woods in my mailbox.

The main characters were two girls, one a teenager and one a preadolescent. Neither were very good actresses, but the teenager was particularly painful to watch (and not only because she shouted worriedly for half the movie). The footage that rolls during the beginning credits was actually quite intriguing [3], but after that the camerawork was rather boring. The climax seemed to me to be both too easy and slightly unintelligible. To make matters worse, multiple endings were shot (and even more were written) [4], yet I think they still didn't wrap it up very well.

My verdict: If you don't mind watching a rather cheesy Disney horror movie from 1980, go ahead. Since it's a Disney feature, it's clean and not really all that scary/intense, but it might still be too much for little kids. I think this one would probably be more watchable as a Mystery Science Theater 3000 feature.


[1] Such as new releases or DVDs which they don't have very many copies of (like The Watcher in the Woods).

[2] They make more money off of them because of lower shipping expenses.

[3] Most of the action takes place in a huge English mansion, but there's no sign of the PollyannaThe Happiest MillionaireOscar fireplace.

[4] See Warning: plot details are given away here.

No comments:

Post a Comment