Watchers/Watchers 2

release year: 1988 and 1990
genre: horror/drama
viewing setting: home DVD, 10/20/03

synopsis: Two genetic experiments escape from a lab; one's a very intelligent dog, the other is a savage beast that wants to kill the dog.

impressions: I'm doing this review on both of these movies at the same time, because they're the same basic story, the second was just a remake. Each movie is based on a very good book by Dean Koontz. The general idea is that the dog is insanely smart and very lovable, while the monster is a genetically-engineered killing machine that feels compelled to find and destroy the dog. In both cases, their paths cross those of humans: in Watchers it's punk kid Corey Haim, his mom, and evil assassin Michael Ironside; in Watchers 2 it's tough Marine Marc Singer, hot scientist Tracy Scoggins, and the evil scientist who created both beings. Both movies boast a bodycount above ten and a fair bit of blood and violence. The first movie has a better-looking monster and a nastier bad guy; the second has an idiotic-looking monster (rubber suit!) and a lame bad guy - but better heroes and a smarter, more active dog. Same story, told two ways, each with pros and cons. You can get both movies on one DVD for under $10.

things to watch for: In the second movie, the two scenes in the lab at the beginning...definite Darwin Award candidates.

something these movies have that no other movies have: A monster that rips the eyes out of its dead victims. Also perhaps a severed head stashed in a toilet bowl.

acting: In the first one, only Michael Ironside stood out as entertaining, and only because he's so evil. In the second one, Marc Singer did a good job as the soldier who deals well with some insane happenings.

final word: Worth watching, but definite B-movie material. If the second one had avoided the rubber-suit monster, it would have been a relatively flawless monster movie.

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