Watchers Reborn 2004 Horror Movie Review
Horror movies Review
I considered using my standard Roger Corman introductory paragraph with “Watchers Reborn,” since the House of Corman is the guiding force behind the increasingly banal Watchers films (this one is the third and final sequel), but I’m not going to take the easy way out. Instead, I want to elaborate on the Law of Diminishing Returns as it applies to movie sequels. Everyone acknowledges this law exists even if they don’t overtly recognize it. As someone who’s spent a great amount of time watching junk, I live and die by this law. I suspect the person responsible for first articulating this principle must have used the Watchers series as the its foundational basis. I can’t think of any series of films, including the “Halloween” and “Friday the 13th” movies, which better fits the mold. A substandard, albeit entertaining, original film (based on a Dean Koontz novel of the same name) first hit movie screens back in the 1980s. It was a pretty decent b-movie extravaganza starring Michael Ironside and Corey Haim. As Louis XV used to say, “Apres moi, le deluge”. After the first film, the sequels heralded disaster. “Watchers Reborn” represents the absolute nadir of this franchise. It stinks.
Once again, “Watchers Reborn” allows us to reenter the secretive world of the Outsider and his intelligent pooch partner. With the program failing miserably three previous times, you’d think the National Security Agency and Defense Department would abandon the project. Think again. Those wacky bureaucrats! They just can’t give up on the idea that a genetically engineered beastie, linked psychically with a super-intelligent dog, will serve as an effective means to destroy our nation’s enemies. A few thousand domestic corpses later, you’d figure they would get the idea that the program ISN’T WORKING! You’d also think the producers of this film would get the idea that the movies aren’t working anymore, either. Wrong on both counts. In “Watchers Reborn,” we see yet another scientist hard at work to turn the Outsider project around. This time it’s Dr. Grace Hudson (Lisa Wilcox) pushing papers. She’s working closely with the National Security Agency, presented to us in the form of the evil Lem Johnson (Stephen Macht), to make this sucker work. We know it won’t work, of course, because if it did there wouldn’t be much of a movie with which to waste our time. Sure enough, Einstein the super dog escapes from captivity, closely followed by the Outsider.
At this point, enter Los Angeles Police Detective Murphy (Luke Skywalker) and his partner Gus Brody (Gary Collins!). They move center stage while investigating an especially heinous murder caused either by A) a psycho with a really huge pair of gardening shears, or B) the Outsider. Wanna take a stab at the correct answer? Anyone? Bueller? Anyway, it’s extremely telling that Einstein shows up at the crime scene. One thing leads to another, which includes Officer Brody’s demise at the hands (paws?) of the Outsider. Detective Murphy must join forces with Dr. Hudson, Einstein, and The Force in an effort to expose this nefarious plot. The movie treats us to numerous scenes involving Einstein and Corey Haim…er, I mean Einstein and Marc Singer…darn it…I mean Einstein and Detective Murphy as the human figures out that Einstein is not some dumb dog but rather an intelligent canine involved in some secret project. It’s the same stuff we’ve seen in the previous movies, only done with a lot less flair. The movie plods along until Hudson (now channeling Hansel and Gretel), Einstein, Murphy, and the Outsider battle the NSA pukes at some rural farmhouse.
Here are a few things I noticed about “Watchers Reborn”. One, why is the lab containing the Outsider experiment located near Los Angeles? We’ve seen time and time again that this program poses a significant security risk to human beings, yet the government conducts the experiments right near a major metropolitan area teeming with potential victims along with a big media apparatus that would just love to break a story about a secretive genetics experiment involving animals. I’m surprised the lab isn’t right next door to PETA headquarters. Two, Mark Hamill’s career really went south after the “Star Wars” films. Most of us know this, of course, but “Watchers Reborn” really brings this fact home in an unpleasant manner. Hamill looks like a hangover in a suit as he lurches his way through this movie. Ouch. Three, the Outsider looks really cheesy. His look has deteriorated as the series progressed, but he’s downright laughable in this outing. Four, “Watchers Reborn” proves, as if any additional evidence was necessary at this point, that Hollywood considers white guys in suits an evil hated by all forms of creation. The only thing missing here is an evil, greedy businessman. Five, and finally, the oranges. Pay attention to the oranges.
The House of Corman brings “Watchers Reborn” to DVD with lackluster results. Corman’s always been one to work on the cheap, and his DVDs are no different. We see the movie in a full screen format with average audio quality. The only extras are three trailers for other Corman films: “When Eagles Strike,” “Hope Ranch,” and A Woman Hunted”. I’m proud to say that I survived all of the Watchers films. I reviewed the first two all the way back in September 2004, almost three years ago, and now I’m done. What will I do with my time? I guess I can start working my way through all of those “Friday the 13th” and “Halloween” films. I suppose I could read the Koontz book that gave birth to these monstrosities. I could even rewatch the Watchers films even though only the first two really merit any serious attention. Nah! On to the next crop of cheap, cheesy, flicks that only a bad movie lover can love!