How Long Every Character Is Trapped In The Forest In The Watchers


How Long Every Character Is Trapped In The Forest In The Watchers

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Warning: This article contains major spoilers for The Watchers.


  • Mina spent roughly 5 months trapped in the cursed forest, mapping out checkpoints and facing unknown supernatural creatures.
  • Ciara was in the forest for 10 months, collecting medicinal plants and waiting for her missing husband, who turned out to be a Changeling.
  • Madeline, the de facto leader of the humans in the forest, was trapped there for thousands of years, revealing her status as a Halfling.

Because of the curse on the forest, each of The Watchers‘ characters spends some time trapped there. The directorial debut of Ishana Night Shyamalan, the daughter of M. Night Shyamalan, was one of the most-anticipated original horror movies of 2024. The story follows a main character named Mina, who gets trapped in a forest in West Ireland alongside three other people – Daniel, Ciara, and Madeline. While inside the forest, they’re being watched by unknown supernatural creatures.

The critic reviews for The Watchers have been dismal; however, the audience has responded in a mixed way. While the movie certainly has issues in pacing and tone, one of the best aspects is the incorporation of traditional Irish folklore. The creatures and their forest prison are both twisted versions of real mythology. While the Changelings, aka the faeries, are explored in detail throughout the latter half of The Watchers, the forest remains a massive mysteries. Particularly, questions come up about the way that time passes inside the forest and how long the humans remain trapped.


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Mina Is Trapped In The Forest For Roughly 5 Months

Mina’s Job Was Mapping Out The Forest

The Watchers never confirms the timeline of the movie, adding mystery to the magical forest setting. However, there are hints throughout the story that provide clues as to how long Mina (Dakota Fanning) stayed in the forest. Firstly, they mention the changing of seasons from autumn to winter. Presuming she arrived at the beginning of autumn, this would mean that she stays in the forest for a minimum of three months. However, the likely number is higher than this based on the fact that she m0aps out every one of the checkmarks during her time in the forest.

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While it isn’t known exactly how many checkmarks exist in the forest, the number seems to be around 130. The characters explain that the checkpoints are half a day, one way. She also didn’t immediately start mapping them, only doing so after going into the fairy burrows. Presuming she waited a week before going into the burrow and didn’t leave immediately after mapping out all the checkmarks, this would put her time trapped in the forest in The Watchers at around five months.

Ciara Was Trapped In The Forest For 5 Months Before Mina Arrived

Ciara’s Job Was Collecting Medicinal Plants In The Forest

When Mina asks how long Ciara (Georgina Campbell) had been in the forest, she reveals that she and her husband, John, arrived around five months prior. She doesn’t know the exact amount of time, though, due to the way that time passes inside the forest. Her husband presumably died a few days before Mina’s arrival. Ciara explains to Mina that he husband should be back any time, and she thought John sent Mina to them. Unfortunately for Mina, she never sees her husband again since the person who looks like John outside the door midway through the movie is actually a Changeling.

Georgina Campbell also starred in the 2022 horror movie

Adding in the approximately five months that Mina spent in the forest, Ciara was in the forest for a total of approximately ten months before their escape. Interestingly, when she returns to her house, Ciara’s life doesn’t seem to be impacted by their time away. The lack of concern about the missing people adds to questions about the forest and how it affects the perception of time in The Watchers.

Daniel Was Trapped In The Forest For 8 Months Before Mina Arrived

Daniel’s Job Was Hunting And Gathering In The Forest

Daniel sits at a table in The Watchers

Daniel tells Mina that he’s spent exactly eight months and three days trapped inside the forest before Mina arrives in The Watchers. He seems to have kept a running log of the number of days. Combined with the time Mina is in the forest, Daniel spends around 13 months in the forest. While there, his job is hunting and gathering food for the four. He also seems like a jokester who performs for the Changelings to keep them entertained. Unfortunately, unlike Mina, Ciara, and Madeline, Daniel never escapes.

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Toward the end of The Watchers, the captives of the forest decide to make a run for it after learning about a boat past one of the checkpoints. Because of the distance, the watchers start coming after them right before they reach the shore. They grab onto Daniel and kill him just as the others are escaping on the boat. This makes him one of at least two people who died in the forest, though the number seems to be much higher based on the number of objects in the faeries’ burrow.

Madeline Was Trapped In The Forest For Thousands Of Years

Madeline Was The De Facto Leader Of The Humans In The Forest

close up of Madeline (Olwen Fouéré) in The Watchers
Image via Warner Bros

Up until the end of the movie, it’s believed that Madeline was in the forest on purpose to study the creatures. It seems as if she has been there for years, but the exact amount of time is unknown. However, the fifteen minutes of the movie reveal that Madeline is actually a Halfling who was trapped in the forest for her entire life due to the war between the humans and faeries. Because the lifespan of changelings and halflings isn’t known, the amount of time she spent trapped is a mystery.


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However, it’s plausible that she was trapped in the forest for thousands of years. If not, then her people were trapped there for that long, considering when the war happened. Moreover, it’s highly likely that the only reason she could escape the forest is because of her status as a halfling, making her part human and part faerie. The normal changelings couldn’t leave the forest area when they chased Madeline, Mina, and Ciara out. However, the hybrid race would theoretically be able to survive in both realms, rather than just one.

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The Professor Was Trapped In The Forest For 300 Days

The Professor Built The Vault In The Forest

The image of a Watcher on a monitor in The Watchers
Image via Warner Bros

Out of all the human characters, Professor Kilmartin was the only person who went into the magical forest, knowing that he wouldn’t be able to leave. Prior to entering the forest, he made a plan to build the impenetrable vault underground. Each day, he brought men into the forest to help him construct it, then he locked them out. The faeries would kill them, and then the cycle would repeat all over again. Based on the Professor’s video log, he was trapped inside the forest for exactly 300 days, and he seems to make a vlog every day.

During his time there, he managed to capture a faerie who could walk in the daylight, who would eventually turn into his late wife, Madeline. Unlike most of the other characters, he never made it out, dying an untimely death. While his last video provides insight into his mentally ill mindset, the exact circumstances of his death in The Watchers are unknown. The gunshots can be heard, but everything happened off-screen. However, based on the halfling pretending to be Madeline’s reaction later in the movie, it seems that she might have killed him when he tried to kill her.

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