William Friedkin has a knack for creating genuinely uneasy horror films that destroy the concept of domesticity. “The Guardian” completely turns the idea of parenthood on its head, transforming the suburban family in to a veritable nightmare. “The Guardian” carries on the tradition of a menace from the outside ruining the family unit, this time following mundane couple Phil and Kate Sterling as they greet a new child in to their home. “The Guardian” is directed and staged very much like a nightmare that never ends, even with normal scenes of happiness depicted in a very surreal lens.
The moment we meet our couple, their impending entrance of their new child is depicted as a bittersweet event that welcomes joy and doom. Even in the sequence of wife Kate giving birth to child Jake is colored with a pitch dark background, as if they’re being viewed through something of an ominous force they’ve yet to encounter. “The Guardian” is an uneasy and utterly unsettling thriller that touches upon the classic fear of losing a child to a nameless and faceless force. In this instance, we meet Camilla, an enigmatic woman who manages to kill her way to the top of the nanny list to become the guardian of young Jake. As Camilla, Jenny Seagrove is charming and likable while also being incredibly sexy and seductive.
Like a snake, she instigates herself in to the Sterling household, preparing to keep Jake close by and sneaking off whenever she can. Though she does manage to sneak up on to the unsuspecting couple, they’re a constantly likable and sensible pair of parents that don’t so much walk in to doom, so much as they’re lured. They’re reasonable and smart protagonists that manage to have their bonds with Jake tested when they become certain Camilla is an evil force preparing to commit heinous deeds on Jake. Though Camilla is the villain, she’s given considerable emphasis and back story, while Friedkin also keeps us in the dark about certain details involving her communication with nature, and how she uses infants to keep her youth and life extended.
Friedkin keeps the film mainly a dark and grim fantasy where Camilla uses the power over nature to grant her the control over the infants she watches, but meets her match when the Sterlings do whatever it takes to keep their child safe. “The Guardian” is a consistently entertaining and creepy drama thriller with top notch performances all around, including Seagrove who absorbs the role of villain well. Friedkin’s film continues the formula of “The Exorcist” about the sacred home disrupted by a pure force of evil, and it’s a worthwhile genre entry.
The Blu-Ray from Scream Factory includes “A Happy Coincidence” a twenty two minute interview with Dwier Brown who plays hero Phil Sterling. He discusses making the movie with Friedkin and working on the horror genre. “From Strasberg to the Guardian” is a fun ten minute interview with Gary Swanson. “A Mother’s Journey” is a twelve minute interview with actress Natlalija Nogulich, there’s also “Scoring “The Guardian,” an interview with composer Jack Hues who discusses his stark music for the film and work with pop band Wang Chung. “Tree Woman” is a thirteen minute interview with effects master Matthew Mungle, who discusses working with Friedkin. “Return to the Genre” is an eighteen minute interview with William Friedkin who explores working on he movie and his further work. “The Nanny” is a fourteen minute interview with the gorgeous Jenny Seagrove. “Don’t Go Into The Woods” is a twenty one minute interview with Stephen Volk who discusses working on the screenplay, with Friedkin, and his overall career. Finally, there’s a still gallery and the original theatrical trailer for “The Guardian.”