Horror Film Review: The Guardian (dir by William Friedkin)


“You mean the tree played by Kevin Costner?”

No, no.  You’re thinking of the wrong Guardian, my imaginary friend.  This Guardian is from 1990 and it’s the killer tree film that was directed by William Friedkin.

“William Friedkin directed a killer tree film?”

Apparently so.

“What’s it about?”

It’s kind of hard to say.  Camilla (Jenny Seagrove) is hired as a nanny and proceeds to not only claim the baby as her own but also tries to seduce the baby’s father away from his wife.

“I think it’s cute the way that you always mention the actor’s name is parenthesis….”

Well, that’s what we’re taught to do.  But back to The Guardian.  The Guardian could also be a movie about a druid who steals babies so that she can sacrifice them to a tree God.

“You mean like that big talking tree from the from Lord of the Rings?”

I guess.  Or maybe Camilla is a reincarnation of Lillith, the demon who kidnaps babies in the night.

“Poor Lillith, so misunderstood.”

Or maybe Camilla is a witch who can make wolves and tress do her bidding!

“Like Sabrina?”

I don’t want to talk about fcking Sabrina.

“Did you mean to spell the f-word that way?”

I try to keep my actual cursing to minimum.  That way, it means something.

“That’s sweet.”

Whatever.  Back to The Guardian!  It’s also possible that Camilla actually is a tree that’s come to life and is now doing evil tree stuff!

“So, what you’re saying is that the film is unclear about just what exactly Camilla’s deal is?”

That’s it, exactly!  The Guardian is a notorious mess and it’s probably significant that this is one of two films that William Friedkin doesn’t even acknowledge in his otherwise tell-all autobiography, Friedkin Confidential.  Reportedly, there were problems on the set. From what little I’ve found online, it would appear that Friedkin originally wanted the movie to be about a mentally deranged woman who thought she was a druid. But the producers wanted a horror film about a woman who actually was a druid. Somehow, this eventually led to The Guardian becoming a movie about a woman who is actually a tree. What’s funny is that the film itself feels like a typical crazy nanny Lifetime film, up until the moment that one of Camilla’s employers attempts to take a chainsaw to that tree.

“Trees don’t like chainsaws.”

Yeah, no joke.  Anyway, before all that happens, Camilla is killing people left and right but yet no one seems to notice.  She doesn’t make any secret of the fact that she’s trying to seduce Phil (Dwier Brown) but Phil’s wife, Kate (Carey Lowell), doesn’t seem to care.  Instead, Phil and Kate attempt to set Camilla up with their friend, goofy Ned (Brad Hall).  It doesn’t take long for Ned to get devoured by a bunch of wolves.  That’s what happens when you walk in on a druid nanny turning into a tree, I guess.

“Isn’t Brad Hall married to Julia Louis-Dreyfus?”

Indeed, he is!  And you don’t see him in any movies nowadays so I guess getting eaten by wolves was kind of the last straw.  But the movie gets even weirder!  There’s also an odd scene in which three gang members just happen to be walking through the woods when they come across Camilla and the baby. They kind of pop up out of nowhere and they immediately turn out to be some pretty bad guys. Luckily, a tree pops up and kills the all. Is the tree Camilla or is the tree someone else? Who knows?

“Gang members in the woods?  You mean like in Friday the 13th Part 3?”

Strangely enough, yes.  Even stranger is the fact that no one notices anything strange about Camilla. To be honest, there are times that Camilla might as well be wearing a sign that reads, “Druid” but no one seems to notice. Then again, it’s debatable whether or not she was actually a druid. She might actually be a tree and I guess it’s understandable that something like that wouldn’t naturally occur to anyone. I mean, I think we’ve all probably met a druid or two but someone who is actually a tree? Well, that’s unusual.

“Very unusual!”

Anyway, The Guardian is a messy film and I’m afraid that I’m probably making it sound more fun than it actually is.  If you do watch it, please be sure to chime in with your thoughts on whether or not Camilla is actually a tree.  I look forward to hearing your opinion!

“Don’t you want to hear my opinion?”


Yes, this an actual scene from The Guardian.

One response to “Horror Film Review: The Guardian (dir by William Friedkin)

  1. Pingback: Lisa’s Week In Review: 10/21/19 — 10/27/19 | Through the Shattered Lens

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