Monday, October 24, 2011
A young couple, new parents, discover the shocking truth about their new live-in nanny. No, it's not a Hand That Rocks The Cradle situation, actually she just worships some sort of tree-god to which she intends to sacrifice their baby.
A killer tree seems kind of a silly thing to base a horror movie around. And, you know, it is. I mean, even considering that this tree is pretty tough, able to rip off people' limbs and eat them and cause them to spontaneously combust; even considering that it has a loyal pack of ferocious wolves to do its bidding; even though it has a sexy, baby-stealing nanny doing its dirty work... just, like, don't go into the woods. End of movie.
Still, The Guardian is actually a lot of fun. It doesn't really have a good screenplay, or good acting, or anything like that, but it's actually quite well shot, atmospheric, entertainingly violent, with a few solid set pieces to round it out. And that's because this silly little horror movie was directed by none other than the great William Friedkin. This was 1990, when Friedkin's stock wasn't as high as was in the 70's, so this is a lot less ambitious and artsy than his classics; I wouldn't be surprised if this was just a work for hire. It lacks the spooky ambiguity and strong central performances of his best films, but it just goes to show you how a director can craft weak material into something worthwhile if they have the technical chops for it.