Rewatched Aug 20, 2012
Josh Keown’s review:
“The angel Uriel was stationed at the entrance to Eden to guard it from the devil. Since that time a long line of guardians... sentinels, have guarded the world against evil.”
-Michael Lerman (Chris Sarandon)
She is Young, She is Beautiful, She is Next...
Boy, I remember the first time I watched this, with high hopes but low expectations. What a suprise it turned out to be!
As it happens, The Sentinel is a delightful, and often forgotten, entry into the genre. Watching it today is just as pleasing as it was a good couple of years ago.
The Sentinel is, in many ways, the lovechild of two Polanski greats, Rosemary’s Baby and The Tenant. It shares similar themes of paranoia, hysteria and the descent into madness. It has the same oppressive, eerie atmosphere of dread. And hey, it even has some nutty elderly folk to boot too.
The story, which was penned by Jeffery Konvitz (who wrote the original novel), is wonderfully unpredictable, weaving off in unexpected directions just as you think you’ve got it figured. To say too much would just spoil it. The synopsis provided by IMDb is probably most accurate; ‘a fashion model moves into a nice Brooklyn Heights apartment, where scary occurrences turn into a much more frightening turn of events.’ After that, everything is just so strange you never know what next to expect.
Winner is really onto a winner with his cast – perhaps one of the greatest ensemble of actors and actresses ever to grace the screen during one film. Cristina Raines is a likable leading lady, Chris Sarandon is as suave and charming as ever, whilst Burgess Meredith shines as their enigmatic neighbour. Beverly D’Angelo is a real highlight as a complete lunatic.
John Carradine features too, and small appearances from Christopher Walken and Jeff Goldblum round off this fantastic cast. There is even a brief ‘blink and you’ll miss it’ cameo from Richard Dreyfuss.
VERDICT; An excellent, criminally underseen slice of ‘70’s gold, which provides ordinary and outlandish scares aplenty. If you stray from the beaten path, you’ll sometimes turn up a gem. The Sentinel is an absolute diamond.
4/5 or 8/10