A young couple with a newborn baby don't realize that the nanny they hired is a magical nymph who sacrifices infants to an evil tree.

Director:

William Friedkin

Writers:

Dan Greenburg (novel), Stephen Volk (screenplay) | 2 more credits »
3 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Jenny Seagrove ... Camilla
Dwier Brown ... Phil Sterling
Carey Lowell ... Kate Sterling
Brad Hall ... Ned Runcie
Miguel Ferrer ... Ralph Hess
Natalija Nogulich ... Molly Sheridan (as Natalia Nogulich)
Pamela Brull Pamela Brull ... Gail Krasno
Gary Swanson ... Allan Sheridan
Jack David Walker Jack David Walker ... Punk
Willy Parsons Willy Parsons ... Punk
Frank Noon ... Punk
Theresa Randle ... Arlene Russell
Xander Berkeley ... Detective
Ray Reinhardt Ray Reinhardt ... Dr. Klein
Jacob Gelman ... Scotty
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Storyline

Phil and Kate have a baby boy named Jake. They hire a baby-sitter, Camilla, to look after Jake and she becomes part of the family. The Sterling's friend and neighbor, Ned, takes a liking to Camilla and asks her out. She refuses, but Ned follows her and discovers that she is not quite human. Camilla discovers that she has been followed and Ned is pursued. He leaves a desperate message for Phil and Kate which reveals that Camilla has special plans for baby Jake. Written by brooks@odie.ee.wits.ac.za and drxcreatures@yahoo.com

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

Tonight, while the world is asleep... an ancient evil is about to awaken.


Certificate:

R | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The delivery scene used real footage of an actual live birth. See more »

Goofs

When Phil and Kate decide to visit Dr. Klein and drive to the hospital it is clearly day outside. When they take their son out of the hospital and drive back home it is suddenly night time. See more »

Quotes

Kate: [stuffed owl] And this is Pyewacket!
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Alternate Versions

There are two versions of "The Guardian": the theatrical cut, credited to William Friedkin, and a modified cut, credited to "Alan Smithee". The Alan Smithee cut has never been released on video but has been shown on cable. It includes new scenes including another scene in the hospital; different dream sequences; a scene of the nanny waking the wife up and alternate angles for other scenes. Also, the ending of the cable cut is different and omits much of the gore. See more »

Connections

Referenced in Rewind This! (2013) See more »

Soundtracks

Waltz For Debby
Written by Bill Evans and Gene Lees
Performed by Bill Evans, Scott LaFaro and Paul Motian
Courtesy of Fantasy, Inc.
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User Reviews

Silly, but quite enjoyable horror/thriller.
10 July 2003 | by Li-1See all my reviews

** 1/2 out of ****

I always enjoy a good splatter flick and while I wouldn't necessarily call The Guardian a "good" film, it sure as hell is an entertaining one. The plot's pretty silly, with Jenny Seagrove as Camilla, a newly hired caretaker of a young couple's (Dwier Brown and Cary Lowell) infant son. Camilla appears to be the perfect nanny, sweet and loving, but actually, she's a Druid who needs the baby to prolong her immortal life, or something to that effect (the movie really didn't explain too much, and if you think I gave anything away by mentioning her as a Druid, the opening subtitles already state that info). She's also got a weird relationship with a big tree in the forest.

The film's got a lot of stupidity here and there, especially the young couple, who don't bother checking Camilla's references before hiring her, or the fact that this caretaker happens to be able to move around so many residences freely without too much suspicion (okay, for a while, at least). And considering the fact Camilla's a Druid, where'd she get this tree? This is set in L.A., not Europe. As I said before, not much is answered, and I guess I should be grateful because I can't imagine any answers that wouldn't delve the material into further silliness.

But I credit director William Friedkin for handling all this with a straight face. Some of this stuff (particularly the scenes with the tree) could have been played as camp, but I'm rather glad Friedkin plays this seriously and, as he did with The Exorcist, he manages to craft some truly suspenseful and frightening moments. Still, the film does slide into scenes that are too silly to be taken very seriously; you'll know what I mean when you see the chainsaw scene near the end of the movie.

Unlike The Exorcist, he shows no restraint with violence, preferring to give us several enjoyably gory death scenes and a LOT of blood spattering everywhere. There's also a decent amount of nudity present, courtesy of the rather lovely Jenny Seagrove. She's not quite as effective a horror villainess as, say, Mathilda May in Lifeforce, but gets the job done. Dwier Brown and Cary Lowell are okay, a little flat during some scenes and certainly not aided by a script that makes them act like idiots, but are convincing enough as caring and concerned parents.

Surprisingly very little music is used, with Friedkin trying to use the sounds of the wind and other such natural elements to create goosebumps. It's a good attempt, and while it works during two very lengthy, suspenseful sequences, he's still no M. Night Shyamalan. Considering the rather negative critical response The Guardian received, it's easy to see why Friedkin hasn't made a genre film since. But I enjoyed almost every minute of it would recommend it to horror fans seeking a quick-paced, gory thriller.


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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

27 April 1990 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

The Guardian See more »

Filming Locations:

USA See more »

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Box Office

Opening Weekend USA:

$5,565,620, 29 April 1990

Gross USA:

$17,037,887

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$17,037,887
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Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Dolby SR

Color:

Color (Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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