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      The Guardian

      R 1990 1 hr. 32 min. Horror Drama Mystery & Thriller List
      25% 12 Reviews Tomatometer 32% 2,500+ Ratings Audience Score 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. Read More Read Less Watch on Fandango at Home Premiered Apr 11 Buy Now

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      The Guardian

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      Audience Reviews

      View All (102) audience reviews
      Audience Member We got this movie due to the recommendation of it being the predecessor to " The Nanny" Which I liked because of its uniqueness. This film however was not what I expected. For one the Threatening presence to the Baby was not the Guardian but rather the irresponsible parents. Not only do they keep their baby without clothes on ,but seem to take no issues with their Nanny bathing with the infant at all. If that wasn't bad enough there are multiple scenes in which the mother and father endanger their child. When they took their kid from the hospital driving with the infant in the front seat unbuckled without any safety seat I about had a heart attack. That in itself was scarier than the man eating wolves or any evil presence from the forest. To top it all off we get to witness the mother dropping the poor child on the stairs during the most irrational scuffle Ive ever seen. Im still trying to debate weather the guardian should have won to care of the Baby over the negligent parents. Looking back I would have to say yes to the Nanny for actually having the best interest for the children at heart after all. Eternal life wasn't exactly a death sentence... Rated 1 out of 5 stars 02/18/23 Full Review Audience Member "The Guardian" is the type of movie that offers up a ridiculous premise, in this case that of a druid attempting to enjoin the spirits of babies with those of trees, and then trumps that premise with farfetched and ridiculous developments that allow the train to run entirely off of the rails and then some. While the film should, I suppose, be commended for its special effects, such a commendation immediately rings hollow when considering the wasteful and gratuitous purpose to which those effects are being put. There are horror films which terrify through the implementation of skillful subtlety, ominous suspense, and the power of suggestion. Then there are films like this one, which succeed only in defying categorization in the most unflattering ways. Rated 1 out of 5 stars 02/14/23 Full Review Audience Member What if the man who wrote Private Lessons — Dan Greenburg — wrote a book about a hamadryad, which is a tree spirit, and somehow William Friedkin made it his first horror film since The Exorcist? It's true. All true. The original script — Sam Raimi was going to direct — was a lot closer to the book and was about a nannuy who steals the children she is charged with. Screenwriter Stephen Volk reworked the script for Friedkin, including coming up with the idea of making the villain Lilith, but then Friedkin wanted a straight and realistic movie, which Universal didn't and Volk said "What if it was a tree monster?" And Friendkin went, "Yessssssssssssss." As a result of all that, Volk suffered a nervous breakdown and left the production, leaving Friedkin to finish the script. Jenny Seagrove, who actually had to play this part, said that her role went from being a nanny to being a druid to actually being a tree. Or was she a wolf? Man, I have no idea and I've tried to watch this more than once and that's probably why I kind of love it. This movie has no idea what it is even when it's trying so hard to be it, like a kid in school who is fighting to be cool and has somehow made a persona of every single social group. I mean, twatching Brad Hall get brutalized by wolves is something that I wish I could do more often. Yet this movie goes from The Hand That Rocks the Cradle to occult horror to an absolutely ridiculous scene with the evil nanny's bark-like skin has baby faces inside it. Who would come up with this? Who would give them millions of dollars? What if the man who wrote Private Lessons — Dan Greenburg — wrote a book about a hamadryad, which is a tree spirit, and somehow William Friedkin made it his first horror film since The Exorcist? It's true. All true. The original script — Sam Raimi was going to direct — was a lot closer to the book and was about a nannuy who steals the children she is charged with. Screenwriter Stephen Volk reworked the script for Friedkin, including coming up with the idea of making the villain Lilith, but then Friedkin wanted a straight and realistic movie, which Universal didn't and Volk said "What if it was a tree monster?" And Friedkin went, "Yessssssssssssss." As a result of all that, Volk suffered a nervous breakdown and left the production, leaving Friedkin to finish the script. Jenny Seagrove, who actually had to play this part, said that her role went from being a nanny to being a druid to actually being a tree. Or was she a wolf? Man, I have no idea and I've tried to watch this more than once and that's probably why I kind of love it. This movie has no idea what it is even when it's trying so hard to be it, like a kid in school who is fighting to be cool and has somehow made a persona of every single social group. I mean, watching Brad Hall get brutalized by wolves is something that I wish I could do more often. Yet this movie goes from The Hand That Rocks the Cradle to occult horror to an absolutely ridiculous scene with the evil nanny's bark-like skin has baby faces inside it. Who would come up with this? Who would give them millions of dollars? There's also a cable TV edit that Friedkin hated so much that it got an Alan Smithee directoral credit. In this one, the tree woman known as Camilla is not killed by a chainsaw and is instead alive and naked at the tree as the movie ends. Rated 2 out of 5 stars 02/06/23 Full Review Audience Member A young couple have their young baby snatched away from them and offered as a human sacrifice to an ancient tree to prolong it's life by the infant's nanny. We then see a short time later the Druid nanny from Hell starts new employment caring for another couple's child. This tautly and stunningly beautiful film was director William Friedkin's first excursion into the horror genre again after that low-key film that he directed in 1973 that no-one ever talks about anymore. Just kidding. Friedkin's first horror movie after The Exorcist was bound to garner much press and this film did. It was also predictable that any film that wasn't as genre-defining and revolutionary as The Exorcist would provide howls of derision and bad reviews which was the fate for The Guardian. I refuse to think of any film directed by William Friedkin to be irredeemably bad or massively flawed. And this truly is the case with The Guardian. Amazingly directed, beautifully shot, pinpoint perfect performances (a big shoutout goes to Jenny Seagrove as the anti-Mary Poppins) and you have a taut 1990 film that has more positives than negatives. If anything is lacking it's maybe the generic source material and the constant re-writes that affected the film. But it's interesting to see such a great director working on strictly genre fare and seeing what happens. This reminds me of Martin Scorsese directing Cape Fear and seeing what he could do within such parameters. The horror scenes are great and the buildup of tension is lovingly established. The film establishes the feeling of placing the well being of your baby into someone else's life and that someone turning out to be a nutjob (if only the film had ditched the supernatural element and made it about a psycho nanny instead. This film could have been to childcare what Jaws was to sharks). The loss of control and the erosion of some of the most precious parental boundaries are fully explored here and the result makes for a very chilling film. Time has been very kind to The Guardian. It's established a fanbase and isn't the disaster some critics would have you believe it was at the time. In fact, it's a very good movie. Rated 3.5 out of 5 stars 02/19/23 Full Review Audience Member I loved this movie it was a great plot and lots of mystery. Rated 5 out of 5 stars 01/25/23 Full Review Audience Member blegh. I can't believe it's taken me this long to watch this, and that I've anticipated it this long. It's rather lousy. I'm trying to think of something redeeming about it, but it's rather bland. There were some cool gory kills... Rated 2.5 out of 5 stars 02/01/23 Full Review Read all reviews Post a rating

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      Critics Reviews

      View All (12) Critics Reviews
      Roger Ebert Chicago Sun-Times Of the many threats to modern man documented in horror films -- the slashers, the haunters, the body snatchers -- the most innocent would seem to be the druids. Rated: 1/4 Jan 1, 2000 Full Review Terry Francis Southern Voice (Atlanta) By imploding into self-satire, the film manages some inadvertent humor. And that's not nothing. Rated: 2/4 May 9, 2023 Full Review Rene Jordan El Nuevo Herald (Miami) The more fictitious a scare it accumulates, the more laughter it grants. [Full review in Spanish] Nov 2, 2022 Full Review Mike Massie Gone With The Twins Although the budget clearly isn't sizable, it's enough to design a couple of amusing scenes of violence and morbidly funny tree-creature effects. Rated: 6/10 Sep 14, 2020 Full Review Chris Alexander Alexander On Film The Guardian is a deeply strange picture with a history as tortured as the perverted limbs of the fabricated tree itself... Jan 8, 2018 Full Review Matt Brunson Creative Loafing As far as flying nannies go, Jenny Seagrove's isn't half as intimidating as Julie Andrews' Mary Poppins. Rated: 2/4 Jan 23, 2016 Full Review Read all reviews

      Movie Info

      Synopsis 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.
      Director
      William Friedkin
      Executive Producer
      David Salven
      Screenwriter
      Stephen Volk, Dan Greenburg, William Friedkin
      Production Co
      Universal Pictures
      Rating
      R
      Genre
      Horror, Drama, Mystery & Thriller
      Original Language
      English
      Release Date (Streaming)
      Nov 1, 2016
      Box Office (Gross USA)
      $16.1M
      Sound Mix
      Surround
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