Scream Factory never ceases to amaze me with their choices in great cult classics to restore in high-definition. I had literally forgotten about The Guardian until the second I received the release announcement in my inbox. The movie really is a sadly forgotten modern fairy tale with a sense of originality to it missing in today’s horror offerings.
Optimistic about their future, well-off parents Kate (Carey Lowell) and Phil (Dwier Brown) hire the pleasant and lovely young Camilla (Jenny Seagrove) to live with them and care for their new baby. Though Camilla seems like an answer to their prayers, she proves to be more than she appears, and a diabolical plot involving the wellbeing of their child is uncovered. The young parents are forced to fight supernatural forces for the life of their vulnerable offspring in The Guardian.
Touted as his return to the horror genre, The Guardian was co-written and directed by William Friedkin (The Exorcist). It was adapted from the novel The Nanny written by Dan Greenburg. What started out as a simple film about a live-in babysitter stealing children slowly morphed into a dark fantasy tale about a tree worshipping au pair who nabs babies for human sacrifice.
I was highly impressed with the practical effects for The Guardian. There’s plenty of blood and gore for genre fans. The kills are also quite delightful and rather graphic at times. We only get flashes of the carnage at times, but the editing and scene cuts give us just enough to thrill.
A cast of virtual unknowns make The Guardian easier to invest in. The fact that you’re not seeing familiar faces from Hollywood keeps you from getting distracted from the story unfolding on screen. That being said, some of the performances are a bit wooden, but saved by Jenny Seagrove’s disturbingly captivating portrayal of Camilla the nanny.
The Blu-ray edition of The Guardian is packed with bonus material that will thrill any fan of the movie. New interviews with actors Dwier Brown and Gary Swanson and Makeup Effects Artist Matthew Mungle give insight into the making of the movie. William Friedkin, Jenny Seagrove, and Co-Writer Stephen Volk also get their chances to provide commentary and share their experiences working on the film. A theatrical trailer is provided as well.
The Nanny is rated R for violence and gore, nudity, adult situations, alcohol use, and frightening and intense scenes. Jenny Seagrove’s nanny likes to walk around naked or covered in body paint quite a bit. There are also quite a few sequences of people being torn apart and eaten by a tree. Lots of great blood and gore for those who love that sort of thing.
The use of tree worshipping and paganism will no doubt steer many Christians away from The Guardian. The nanny is portrayed as the villain of the story, though. I took the movie as a cautionary tale warning viewers to be careful who they trust, especially with their children.
I’ve only seen William Friedkin’s horror movies, so all I can say is that The Guardian isn’t near the quality of The Exorcist. However, it’s an entertaining watch that will be even more frightening if you have children and ever want a date night with your spouse. The premise of the film is still something to admire as being unique at the time the movie was released. Keep that in mind before you instantly wave it away as a supernatural rip-off of The Hand That Rocks the Cradle.
The Guardian is available now on Blu-ray.