BLU-RAY REVIEW: The Guardian (1990)

the guardian

By Nick Durham

William Friedkin is a very interesting dude to say it lightly. The man has directed a classic of the horror genre with The Exorcist, and even a classic of the action/crime-drama genre with The French Connection. Since that time, he's helmed some pretty good films (To Live and Die in L.A., Bug, Killer Joe) and some fairly awful ones (Jade). The Guardian falls somewhere in between those two camps as being a very engaging horror film (Friedkin's first foray into horror since The Exorcist) and being fairly overblown and flat out ridiculous trash.

The Guardian revolves around a married couple (Dwier Brown and Carey Lowell) and their newborn child. They hire a seemingly-perfect nanny named Camilla (Jenny Seagrove) who seems to have an instant connection to their child. Camilla however isn't quite human, and plans on sacrificing the baby to the living and super scary looking trees in what is apparently the only forest in Los Angeles. Eventually our clueless heroes start to realize something's not right with this dingy English broad who knows way more about breastfeeding than the mother does, and frequently likes to hang around naked.

We're never really given a clear idea as to what Camilla is, other than she's linked to Druids and is a physical, humanoid manifestation of these freaky-ass trees. That's all well and good I guess, but we're never really given a clear reason as to why she likes sacrificing babies to this fucking thing either. In case you can't tell already by reading all this, The Guardian tends to be a confusing mess more often than not. That aside though, it's an entertaining mess throughout its runtime regardless. Friedkin's direction is what makes this whole ridiculous affair worthwhile; believe me when I say that were it not for him, this would just be one big nonsensical pile of shit that would have been long forgotten and faded into obscurity. Wait, this did fade into obscurity? Well of course it did, but thankfully, we have Scream Factory.

Those fine-ass fuckers at Scream Factory have managed to throw in a surprising amount of extras here, including an assortment of interviews with cast members and Friedkin himself. One interesting piece of knowledge: Sam Raimi was originally going to direct this. Could you imagine how wonderfully over the top (well, more over the top I guess) The Guardian could have been if Raimi had stuck around? Sweet fucking baby Jesus.

So yeah, The Guardian is a clusterfuck of insanity brought to us by a legendary director who was probably on autopilot (and hallucinogens and/or cocaine) during filming. That being said, for what it is, it was shockingly entertaining in 1990, and still is today as well. Go check it out, make some popcorn, grab some beer, and enjoy the barrage of madness.

Rating: 3/5

 

Posted by Alan Smithee

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