"SuperDoggie and GooBeast, Part 1! Now with MORE Corey!"
It's a good thing for Mr. Dean R. Koontz that he's spent a successful life as a novelist, because his track record in Hollywood is pretty grim across the board. Author of what feels like dozens of read-it-in-three-nights thriller novels, Mr. Koontz has had his works 'appropriated' for cinema several times - and not one is even remotely a good movie.Although (curiously) Mr. Koontz has never waded into the screenwriting pool, he's clearly not averse to selling his options off to some of the worst filmmakers imaginable. It started in 1977 with Donald Cammell's Demon Seed and Serge Leroy's The Intruder (based on arguably Koontz' best novel, Shattered), resulting in two not-half-bad adaptations.
Flash-forward eleven years. One can only assume that Dean's kids were about to hit college or something equally expensive, because the schlock-meisters got their hands on Koontz' back catalog. First up was Watchers, which was followed by limp adaptations of Whispers, The Face of Fear, The Servants of Twilight, Hideaway and Phantoms. Toss in a few random Watchers sequels, a few languid TV-movies and one GOOD film that Koontz oddly had his name removed from (Tobe Hooper's The Funhouse) and you're looking at a novelist who would be advised to stay as far away from the moviemakers as possible.
All of that so I could tell you this: Watchers pretty much sucks. We're talking about the only film in the history of celleloid that hopes to entice viewers by placing the name of Corey Haim above the title! So after Corey Haim, it's all downhill. And isn't that a scary thought...
Although the movie deviates in many ways from Koontz' novel, the basics are the same: a bloodthirsty beastie and a super-intelligent canine have recently escaped from a secret government laboratory. Both creatures are telepathically linked (or something), which means that while SuperDoggie hits the countryside meeting new friends, his goopy and misshapen cousin follows close behind, leaving a lot of dead bodies in its wake.
I haven't read Watchers in many years, so I'll forgo the comparisons to the movie (except to note that the main character in the book was a grown man and not a whiny-voiced zit-faced Corey like we have in the movie) and state plainly: this is a woefully inept movie in many ways...but mostly in the screenplay department. As in, Watchers is a movie that will have you slapping your head in amazement of the woefully goofball dialogue.
The actors are hardly an improvement. Young Mr. Haim and Barbara Williams (playing perhaps the most witless mother even born) recite their dialogue as if it's written with a lot exclamation points. Michael Ironside does manage to inject several doses of good campy fun with his way over-the-top-and-evil performance as a government agent who will murder people if it helps track down SuperDoggie and GooBeast.
First in a series of four clearly inane Watchers flicks (not surprisingly, all gifts from Roger Corman himself), the original may indeed be the best of the lot (it isn't)...but don't mistake that classification as any sort of real praise. If you're a fan of the C-level low-budget horror material (if only because it gives you something to giggle at), I'd say give the Watchers / Watchers 2 double feature DVD a spot in your Netflix queue.Watchers and Watchers 2 might be fun-bad, but make no mistake: they're both still pretty damn bad.