The Guardian (1990)
When this film came out I remember it wasn’t well received by critics at the time. That crossed it off my radar. Here I am years later and enjoying it on my first viewing after coming across a copy of this William Friedkin thriller on DVD.
The opening sequence serves as a prelude to the main thrust of this ninety minute film from Universal. A mysterious nanny runs of into the woods with a newborn baby and at the foot off a rather haunted looking tree appears to offer the child as a sacrifice.
Moving ahead three months we find a young couple played by Dwier Brown and Carey Lowell moving into a new home where she announces they are to have their first child.
Moving along with the birth they set out to find a nanny. After extensive interviews they settle on a young lady who is promptly killed in a cycling accident. Second choice is the attractive Jenny Seagrove as Camilla. A fitting name if you know the story of Camilla by Sheridan Le Fanu.
From the outset there is no doubting her intentions, it’s just a matter of how the thrills will be played out for our benefit. To make sure this is a horror film we’re sure to have a few gross out killings that serve as both a scare tactic and a way to pad the movies running time. There’s some effective use of wolves or coyotes if you prefer, I have a hard time telling them apart. They figure prominently in the harrowing scenes involving Seagrove being followed by Brad Hall to her place of worship and his subsequent terror filled night.
When our young couple slowly come around to discovering their nanny isn’t quite the attractive, caring lady they thought her to be the supernatural aspects of the film kick into overdrive. Showing up as a disbelieving police officer is long time character actor Xander Berkeley. It’s up to the babies parents to face down the evil alone in an Evil Dead inspired bloodbath. Not surprising since according to the IMDB site, Sam Raimi was attached to the project at one point. Which prompts me to wonder where Bruce Campbell would have fit in!
The Guardian seems a little choppy at times but one shouldn’t let that interfere with enjoying a horror film that is far better than many of the torture porn efforts that we are subjected to today in the evolution of the genre that just cause me to turn and walk away.
We all know that Friedkin gave us The Exorcist so there’s no point in comparing it to his previous work in the genre. That wouldn’t be fair. At the same time I found it a whole lot more entertaining than one of his more recent efforts, Killer Joe. I don’t usually push people away from any film but that one heeded a few warnings to friends in my inner circle.
The Guardian was released by Anchor Bay quite a few years ago when that company was the go to one for some interesting genre releases if your keen on taking a look for the first time or trying to revisit it. .