Unfortunately, the way it is played in The Guardian, the idea comes out with a deadening predictability. All there is to know about what is going on is explained in the written pre-credits scene setting, while the nature of Jenny Seagroves identity is given away in the opening scenes. This leaves no surprise revelations for us later these are things that should have been revealed through the eyes of hero Dwier Brown. With such an outrageous premise being played so literal and po-faced, The Guardian cannot help but produce unintentional titters.
What makes The Guardian an even bigger disappointment is that it was William Friedkins return to horror seventeen years after the genre-defining landmark of the The Exorcist (1973). Friedkins own career since The Exorcist has been somewhat cursed by The Devil, he having made fine films that have turned out to be flops Sorcerer (1977), To Live and Die in L.A. (1986), Rampage (1987) and others that have flopped badly Cruising (1980), Deal of the Century (1983) and Jade (1996). The Guardian does nothing to reverse the long downward trail of William Friedkins career. One cannot deny that he leaves The Guardian a well-made film. Even when he is working with cheesy plot material, the film is filled with slick, evocative camerawork. There is at least one genuinely uncanny sequence that comes as Brad Hall finds Jenny Seagrove in a grove lounging naked and being caressed and healed by the branches of the tree, while wolves docilely sit at its base.
The Guardian does at least give brief American presence to the lovely and almost entirely neglected English actress Jenny Seagrove. The Yuppie couple Dwier Brown and former James Bond girl Carey Lowell give forgettable performances. Lowell is pushed into the background and almost entirely forgotten about once Jenny Seagrove enters.
William Friedkins other genre films are The Exorcist (1973), the classic tale of demonic possession; Cruising (1980), a psycho-thriller set in the world of gay leather bondage; Deal of the Century (1983), a black comedy about arms smuggling; Rampage (1987), a courtroom serial killer thriller that debated the Insanity Plea; The Hunted (2003) about a man hunting humans for sport; and the claustrophobic Bug (2006).