The Watcher in the Woods

Movie review by Brian Costello, Common Sense Media
The Watcher in the Woods Poster Image

Common Sense says

age 12+

Dated Disney horror tale has occult themes, mild scares.

PG 1980 84 minutes

Parents say

age 10+

Based on 3 reviews

Kids say

age 11+

Based on 7 reviews

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A Lot or a Little?

The parents' guide to what's in this movie.

Community Reviews

age 13+

Great movie - but still scares me today as an adult!

I remember begging to be allowed to watch this movie when I was about 10-11yrs old. Watched it with a girlfriend and it scares the both of us out of our minds! No horror, but very spooky!!! Still gives me the goosebumps thinking about it as a 44yr old mother! Won’t be letting my young one watch it for a while yet. But great movie if you want a truly chilling thriller and suspense movie!
age 13+

The Darker Side Of Disney

In the 80s, Disney must have felt like they had something to prove when branching out of their kiddie comfort zone. Watcher In The Woods was one of those movies (and yes, it does pre-date the PG-13 rating). Having said that, it doesn't really warrant an R rating, so it's easy to see why the MPAA rated it PG. There just wasn't a go-to in-bewteen rating in 1980. This movie is creepy, to say the least, but not necessarily scary. It stars Oscar winner Bette Davis, who doesn't disappoint as the creepy next door neighbor to an American family, new to the English country-side. After being spooked by the house that her family is renting, Jan learns of the disappearance of her neighbor's daughter, 30 years ago. Through a series of strange coincidences and occurrences, Jan is able to solve the mystery. For Christian families, this movie does dabble a bit into the occult including a seance and a few scenes in which one of the daughters is briefly possessed. Even in the trailer for the film, Disney gave the disclaimer that the movie was not for small children. It may not be The Hand the Rocks the Cradle, but it's definitely eerie.

Movie Details

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