Director – Melissa Joan Hart (The Goldbergs, So Weird)
Starring – Anjelica Huston (The Witches, The Addams Family), Tallulah Evans (Son or Rambow, Penelope), and Nicholas Galitzine (Handsome Devil, High Strung)
Release Date – 2017
Rating – 2/5
I grew up on a healthy dose of Are You Afraid of the Dark?, Goosebumps, and Big Wolf on Campus. I didn’t know I was horror obsessed but most of my entertainment came from horror based television shows. On weekends I would rent tapes from the local video store. Most were random comedies and action flicks but I always had one horror flick.
It was around this time that I first watched The Watcher in the Woods and I absolutely loved it. Sometime back I got a press release that the Lifetime produced remake directed by Melissa Joan Hart was getting a DVD release. When the fuck did they remake this classic? Either way I was excited to check it out so I requested a review copy…and was extremely let down.
**Spoiler Alert**The film follows an American family who is spending the summer in the Welsh countryside when they encounter the formal owner of the home they are staying in. She is a strange older lady who lost her daughter 30 years ago in the woods and never seen her again. This intrigues the oldest daughter of the couple and she starts investigating her disappearance and the local legend of the watcher in the woods.**Spoiler Alert**
I grew up on kid friendly horror. Movies like Monster Squad, The Willies, Silver Bullet, and so on were always watched in my home outside of the television shows I love. The Watcher in the Woods was a fantastic film. The atmosphere and suspense really worked and the mystery around the story was very compelling. Sadly, this remake lacked all those elements and heart.
The acting in this one is not convincing at all. Even legendary actress Anjelica Huston was lackluster. She was not dedicated to her role and it was clear she was after a paycheck. The supporting cast was the same. There was no conviction to their dialogue and every character was flat. No personality to distinguish them from the other.
The story for this one is similar to the original but it lacked the dark atmosphere and tension that made the original film so enjoyable. The movie looks and feels like a Disney or Nickelodeon show that a pre-teen would watch after school. It does know flow like a horror or thriller. The pacing is also off. Some of the scenes went on for what felt like days.
Finally, if you want some blood and gore you will need to check out something else. However, if you want to see outdated CGI then you are in luck! Overall, The Watcher in the Woods is a huge let down. The characters are boring, the story is boring, and the overall representation of this classic tale is boring. Skip it.