Who knows what possessed director William Friedkin to straight-facedly tell this absurd ‘tree bites man’ tale, but it’s an impulse he should have exorcised.
The scant plot [from Dan Greenburg’s story The Nanny] involves an attractive yuppie couple (Dwier Brown, Carey Lowell) who hire a live-in nanny to take care of their infant son. The nanny (Jenny Seagrove) turns out to be some sort of evil spirit that sacrifices newborns to this big, anthropomorphic tree, a species apparently indigenous to the canyon areas of metropolitan Los Angeles.
Friedkin’s first horror film since The Exorcist, The Guardian is more likely to make viewers think at best of the wan film adaptation of Pet Sematary, at worst of the talking trees in The Wizard of Oz. The design is so shoddy one half expects it to start talking and pitching apples.
Seagrove looks properly bewitching but never brings much menace or mystery to her role. Lowell, a former Bond girl, has the least to do as the confused wife.