Title: The Guardian

Also known as:
Djävulens barnvakt (Swedish DVD title)

Year: 1990

Genre: Horror / Occult

Language: English

Runtime: 92 min

Director: William Friedkin

Writer: Stephen Volk, Dan Greenburg, William Friedkin, Dan Greenburg (novel)

IMDb: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0099710/

Camilla seems to be the perfect nanny for Phil and Kate, she does it all. She takes great care of their baby, cooks for them, cleans the house. But can they trust her? Soon Phil gets a strange call regarding Camilla, and on the same night his new friend calls him to tell him what he has seen her do. What is she gonna do to their child?

Our thoughts:
Being a big fan of "The Exorcist", I went into this with caution. I didn't want to see William Friedkin totally missing the target nearly 20 years later (as a lot of horror directors do after their success). Frankly, I haven't seen much of his work outside of "The Exorcist" so I had no reference to what he can do outside of that. Add to this a so-so rating on IMDb - which shouldn't always be trusted, but you never know. With that said, I had a blast with "The Guardian". Yeah, it's not gonna scar you like "The Exorcist" did, but you'll be having fun in a late-80's/early-90's way. That's the only period of time that this film could've been made.

The movie starts with showing what happens to a family's child when they hire the wrong nanny - she kidnaps it and... gives it to a tree, and the child becomes part of the tree. So we kinda know we're gonna be in for something a bit off from the start. Then we see a new family, Phil and Kate, and they're in need of a nanny. Oh snap, who could they be hiring!? Yes, it's the evil tree lady-nanny-woman! This time she goes under the name of Camilla, and at first she seems to be the ideal nanny. And she's got the looks as well, which Phil will find out when he finds her taking a bath with their child. I would've reacted more strongly to that than he did, but I guess her tits threw him off a bit. The audience knows from the start what kind of woman she is so it's not really suspenseful in terms of that, but whenever something happens it's rather exciting.

We have a scene where she is outside with the child, near a forest of sorts. And she's being attacked and nearly raped by thugs, before her tree comes to the rescue! This is the first time we notice the best things about "The Guardian" - the blood! Yeah, the tree completely smashes these thugs and blood is splattering. Yes, when the movie gets bloody, it's more of a splatter! How's that for a surprise in an otherwise completely serious film, by the director of "The Exorcist"? I couldn't help but laugh, and instantly I appreciated the film a lot more. It's just a lot of fun, and even though the film is actually extremely mediocre I had fun with it.

The cover of the Njutafilms release has a quote from Classic-Horror.com that says this is like a wonderfully surreal version of "The Hand That Rocks the Cradle", and that's more spot on than I could ever put it. Maybe "The Hand That Rocks the Cradle" meets "Tales From the Crypt" or "Ernest Scared Stupid". It definitely has that creepy "get off their child, you witch!"-feeling all over it, but at the same time there's just such a familiarity in the horror. It's very reminiscent of the horror films that might not be full-blown comedies, but at least want to be fun.

This paragraph will contain something SPOILER-ISH but not too bad. I want to warn you before I go ahead, though! Okay, there is something that confused the hell out of me. There is no way in hell that this film ISN'T inspired by "Evil Dead" (or rather, rips it off). Toward the end Phil is dressed in a blue shirt, and he gets extremely muddy. Already then and there I said to myself "That looks like Ash". It doesn't stop there though! He goes out into the woods with a chainsaw and starts cutting up a tree that is alive (we've seen it grab people in an "Evil Dead"-ish way too). And since the tree bleeds, we now have a man in a blue shirt, covered in mud and blood, with a chainsaw in his hand, fighting off an evil tree spirit of sorts. Sound familiar? I swear, take a screenshot of this and in some shots you'd THINK it was Ash. I don't think any less of the film for this, it just added to my excitement and the fun cheesy feel.

Had the movie not been bringing a platter of blood and cheese between the thriller storyline I don't think it had made much impact on me. I would've thought it was okay but I wouldn't be recommending it to people. Now, if you do want to just watch a fun, stupid horror that takes itself way too seriously, then you should enjoy this. It brings blood, living trees, lots of wolves, some boobies, and a bunch of early 90's entertainment (a rather underappreciated era).

Positive things:
- Splatter!
- Strange, amusing, exciting.
- Not really a bad movie at all, just nothing too special.
- "Evil Dead" much?
Negative things:
- What would it have been without the entertaining violence?
- Some truly cheesy moments.

Gore: 2.5/5
Nudity: 1.5/5
Story: 2/5
Effects: 2.5/5
Comedy: 2/5

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