The Guardian (1990)

Moving to Los Angeles, newlyweds Phil, (Dwier Brown) and Kate Sterlin, (Carey Lowell) buy a huge mansion and settle in. Announcing she’s pregnant and later bringing home their newborn son, they eventually settle on Camilla Grandier, (Jenny Seagrove) to be the child’s nanny. Staying with them to help raise their son, she ends up really liking her but he starts to have doubts, especially after a series of nightmares about her that he can’t figure out their meaning. It seems that she’s a Druidic ancestor who had sacrificed babies to trees as a way to appeal to it’s spirits. As friends and neighbors wise up to what she really is, the couple finally realize her true intentions with their child and race to stop her before doing the same with their child.

The Good News: This here wasn’t that bad, and there are some good parts. One real good reason is that there’s a lot of suspense and great scenery when it really wants to. The forest is one of the creepiest and most disturbing part. The long twigs that bounce wildly in the wind, the leaf-less branches, and the fact that this is never seen other than in the dead of night, where the fog-encased landscape and creepy shadows play a huge role in building up a wonderful atmosphere for the forest scenes. There is at least one genuinely uncanny sequence that comes as one victim finds the heroine in a tree-grove, lounging naked and being caressed and healed by the branches of the tree, while wolves docilely sit at its base. It’s a great image that is just off enough to become creepy while not being dwelled upon, giving it a lasting impression. When it really gets down to it, there’s some nice blood and gore in the film. There is a lot of dismemberment’s, blood spattering everywhere, and if you don’t blink, you get to see one unlucky guy’s head burst like an apple under a sledgehammer when he gets whacked with a tree limb. It’s quite bloody, and it comes along pretty much throughout, and goes on into the end as well. Things don’t work out so hot for this one though because when the husband chainsaws up the tree, blood spews out of it everywhere, the heroine’s leg falls off, and it’s over. There’s also some really nice sleaze in here, as the spirit chick got naked quite a bit, and it wasn’t until the end when she was like half tree and all covered with mud that it really works for the film. This here was pretty good overall.

The Bad News: This here really doesn’t have all that much wrong with it. It’s two main problems are quite easy to spot and go hand-in-hand with each other, the cheesiness and it’s sheer ridiculousness. The ridiculousness of it might be it’s worst offense. There’s no way that any of this could happened, and the ability to keep it straight-faced and serious is a bit of a stretch to believe. Once it gets to the tree attack late in the film, then it gets too far out there to really become plausible. It just seems so out-of-place in a film about a psychotic nanny. The fact that the mystery surrounding her back-story is quite hard to get into all around and lacks just about any sense of cohesion also doesn’t help. These here are the whole of the film’s problems, though there are some that could be put off by the slow pace as well, as this doesn’t move at the fastest point possible as well.

The Final Verdict: While being downright cheesy and ridiculous, this is still a fun and entertaining film. For some, the ridiculousness and cheese may be too much and will result in automatic dismissal, but for those willing to give it a chance, it can be a guilty pleasure.