Watchers (1988)

Directed by: Jon Hess

Written by: Bill Freed & Damian Lee
Dean R. Koontz (Novel)


Corey Haim .... Travis Cornell
Barbara Williams .... Nora Cornell
Michael Ironside .... Lem Johnson
Blu Mankuma .... Cliff
Lala Sloatman .... Tracey
Dale Wilson .... Bill Keeshnan
Duncan Fraser .... Sheriff Walt Gaines

Special Appearances:

Jason Priestley .... Boy on Bike
Don S. Davis .... Veterinarian

Release Date: Theatrical: December, 1988; Fantasporto Film Festival: February, 1990

*Images courtesy at:










After an explosion in a government research lab, a stray golden retriever escapes along with a creature that tends to kill wherever it goes. A teenage boy named Travis Cornell (Corey Haim) visits his girlfriend named Margaret (Kimberly Pullis) at her farm.
Later on the creature trespasses on her area and kills her father and is then she is sent to a hospital or so Travis is told.
Travis meets up with the stray dog whom he finds is the most intelligent dog he's met. He takes the dog home and then Travis goes to the hospital as he is told by a man named Lem Johnson (Michael Ironside) that claims he is working for the government and is taking care of Margaret.
However, Travis hears no more news about his girlfriend and the retriever tries to help him out to tell him that she's in danger.
Meanwhile, the creature is trying to get to the retriever and Travis is on more danger than he realises and Lem is eager to get that retriever back even if he has to kill in order to get it.


I loved the beginning of this film when it shows the creature running in the forest and I thought this is a must close to Halloween plus there's perfect shots on the dog running away in the deep dark woods along with the mysterious camera shots on the beast running too with nice shots on the monstrous hands too. This is a perfect beginning for a monster horror flick during it's time period which is a shame we don't see films like this these days.
Good shots on the dog trying to hide in a barn area as well as nice moments with Tracey and her Dad having an argument in the barn while he has a rifle on not wanting her to see her boyfriend Travis as this showed nice timing on a closed minded and protective father. Also a good moment when he hears something on the top barn door and goes to check it out which keeps you in suspense big time thinking to yourself that this will scare you and not being a good idea to find out on what's going to happen next. Plus there's some terrific fast action shots on the father being thrown around as well as some claw marks springing in action which looked terrifying to watch and done in a great horror style here.
There's an interesting moment with Travis having a discussion with the dog and his reactions discovering how smart this dog is which looked pretty witty to watch as well as him feeding the dog a half a candy bar in which we all know that candy is toxic to dogs.
We also have good discussions with Travis and his mother Nora on how smart the dog is which offers some interesting humor as to what this dog knows when they ask it. Alot of this looked good and natural by how this was all set out too.
A good moment with an old hermit trying to check out a noise coming from his home in which this offers a perfect dark feel to everything as well as great jumping moments on this creature crashing through a roof and grabbing him as this looked terrifically done.
Plus we spot some good humoress moments when the dog sneaks into Travis' classroom and typing a warning on his computer desk which looked mildly amusing. Plus there's some cheesy moments when the mysterious creature breaks into the school to kill the teacher or the janitor as we don't often spot this in daylight as it doesn't come across as frightening.
Yet when the police come in to inspect it does get creepy when they are cautious and looking for this monster as well as a disturbing situation on one of them getting electrocuted adding a nice intense feel to all this.
Great shots on kids riding bikes in the firestry area trying to escape from the creature with perfect shots on this as well as some wiping out and some intense attacking situations.
A perfect concentrated discussion with Lem Johnson talking to Sheriff Walt Gaines about what the creature and the dog are which was perfectly put in and keeps you watching as to what comes out of this. Also there's a perfect shocking situation with what Lem is going to do to this Sheriff as this added a nice powerful horror touch to this showing another side to him proving to be a maniac.
More camera shots on the monster creeping towards Travis' home but yet this was shot in the daytime so it doesn't work well for it's creepiness. However great struggling moments with Travis and Nora trying to escape and a brief shot on the monster's eyes. Also perfect struggling shots on them trying to escape from a house roof which looked suspenseful to watch.
There's some nice light humor when Travis and Nora check in for a hotel and about the innkeeper keeping it a secret about them bringing in a dog as this seemed to be necessary to have for the creepy terrors that has happened in the film so far.
A good intimidating moment when Lem gets demanding towards Nora at the hotel on the dog as well as giving you a sinking feeling that he is gonna hold her up for ransom too while we continue to watch this scene which looked good.
A perfect moment with one of the innkeepers cautiously looking around and then BAM!!! The creature appears crashing in to grab him which makes you jump for sure since things beforehand looked perfectly still.
A good situation with Travis playing scrabble with the dog in which we do get a sinking feeling the the monster will be approaching as this showed a nice drawing card for this to happen.
A perfect dark situation with Lem darkly speaking to his assistant Cliff on what he plans to do as you get a terrible feeling that he will kill his assistant for what we spot that is going on here which looked powerfully done and shot here.
Also a great moment with Lem grabbing onto Travis and being evil as this almost reminds me on a scene in a Terminator flick showing an invincible type of attitude as well as great moments on him trying to kill him which also drew in perfectly for a horror flick.
Perfect moments with Travis in the deep dark woods shooting the monster along with good brief shots on this thing being revealed but having a bad feeling when we think it's dead that it will spring up to attack again adding more scariness to the story and making you watch to see on what will happen but making you cringe too.
Bootm line: Of course this was based on a popular novel by Dean R. Koontz and not only that, the film was shot in my hometown of Vancouver. A great monster flick and I advise horror fans who enjoy monster movies to check this one out for sure as it's great from the beginning to the end. The makers really took their time piece by piece to draw in a strong and mysterious monster flick and to entertain any horror fan of the 80's genre for sure.

The acting is not too shabby at all as Corey Haim (Travis Cornell) is very energetic as a teenage kid and performs at a well pace throughout the film. Seemed to show nice timing while getting into a make out scene in a barn and getting into the feel of things a great deal. Also does a nice job acting surprised in situations like knowing on what the dog does and acts believeably excited by it all. Adds some good spunk and charm while speaking to someone at a counter on owning a gun in which he delivers his lines perfectly well acting someone who is mature and knows what he's doing. Does well with his struggling attitude and getting anxious as well as showing nice blocking while firing his rifle showing good energy in what he does here. A great follow up after his carrer in The Lost Boys.
Barbara Williams (Nora Cornell) seemed to do well with her words as well as being a perfectly sympathetic mother. Also does a good job with her cautious attitude for when the terrors surround her along with being questioned in which she made alot of this seem truly believeable. Does well by showing energy when she is struggling with a rifle towards someone else drawing in great energy here. Yes she really studied this role perfectly as you can tell.
Michael Ironside (Lem Johnson) lived to play a perfect villain that you'd definetely not want to trust at all and you're convinced that he is not telling the truth to say what he really is. He really does well by getting into a deep and dark conversation on what is happening. He also showed some terrific forceful blocking whenever he kills someone just drawing out a perfect evil adrenaline out of him to do this along with great vicious expressions too whenever he does this. Also does a perfect job with his cold speaking and seriousness when he gets demanding too as well as getting firm later on in the sotry letting out a perfect madness with his speaking showing an almost invincible attitude which he studied this superbly and brought it to life a great deal too. He was the best out of the whole cast without a doubt and stole the film within his performance here.
Blu Mankuma
(Cliff) does well by playing the other one with a more laid back but no nonsense type of attitude in which he adds some nice spunk into his role and doing well with his strong speaking and motive too. Does well inspecting stuff and getting into his role quite well here. He also does a nice job near the end of his performance by getting aggressive and sarcastic too which drew in powerfully as well.
Lala Sloatman (Tracey) seemed to show off a nice typical teenage performance here while getting unimpressed with certain situations by making that believeable as well as getting blunt with her onscreen father which also broguht some nice characteristics to her part too. Also does a great job by freaking out and screaming when the terror strikes along with doing a nice job sobbing after what happens. Plus does a good job by acting drugged too later on in the story. She also does a good job with her struggling energy too.
Duncan Fraser (Sheriff Walt Gaines) seemed to have a perfect anxious and geeky type of personality into his role and showed off his supporting role pretty well here. He also does a nice job acting tense and cautious while checking things out which drew in decent energy as well. Does a perfect job while getting good and aggressive in another scene after the loss of his onscreen partner giving everything that he had here. A good pat on the back for this guy.

There are a couple bloodied corpses of school teachers.
A female securty officer's eyes are plucked out.
A sheriff's throat is cut by a broken window of a vehicle.
A headless corpse is lying in a laundry room.
A man spits out blood.

Joel Goldsmith does wonders with his keyboard playing in this film making it sound truly effective to this monster flick giving it the perfect touches. Also there's some great hissing sounds suitng the dark mysterious feels of the scene's along with metal scraping and screeching sounds too. There's also the odd string plucking too. Some good low sounds as well as nice peaceful woodwinds type music for a scene in a cabin by the woods which made everything seem perfectly pleasant. However sometimes the classical type synthesizer playing sounded down right cheesy for what you'd hear in a Z-grade flick.