The Watcher in the Woods

The Watcher in the Woods

John Hough (1982)

PG Certificate


Our Score
Disney attempted to shake off its popcorn image with this tale of a composer and his family moving into a mysterious cottage owned by sinister Bette Davis. But the psychic alien time-warp plot is too silly for adults and not daft enough to make it a proper children's treat. Director John Hough knows how to use atmosphere, though, and sustains it quite well, despite ex-ice skater Lynn-Holly Johnson's bland central performance. However, his decision to take the soft gothic horror route and then suddenly leave the horror out is a mistake, and the movie never recovers. In fact, Disney changed the climax after a disastrous test screening. Bette Davis completists won't want to miss it, though.


Two sisters are haunted by a ghost when they and their American family move into an old mansion set deep in an English forest. As the spirit makes more and more contact with them, the girls come to realise that the spirit is the ghost of the owner's child who went missing long ago. Thriller, starring Bette Davis, Carroll Baker, David McCallum and Lynn-Holly Johnson.

Cast & Crew

Mrs Aylwood Bette Davis
Helen Curtis Carroll Baker
Paul Curtis David McCallum (1)
Jan Curtis Lynn-Holly Johnson
Ellie Curtis Kyle Richards
John Keller Ian Bannen
Tom Colley Richard Pasco
Mary Fleming Frances Cuka
Mike Fleming Benedict Taylor
Mrs Thayer Eleanor Summerfield
Young Mrs Aylwood Georgina Hale
Karen Aylwood Katherine Levy
Director John Hough
Director Vincent McEveety
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Other Information

Language: EnglishColourTheatrical distributor: The Walt Disney Company LtdAvailable on: video and DVD