THE SENTINEL (1977)
- John Carradine in THE SENTINEL
I first heard about this film from Bravo’s 100 Scariest Scenes of all time. The image of an elderly man’s ghost caught my attention and gave me the proper motivation to rent this flick. (This is back in the day… when there would be these places where you walk into a store and rent a DVD or VHS for money). I got bored and decided to rewatch this classic and I am glad i did.
Alison, a model in New York, is searching for an apartment to rent. After no luck, she stumbles upon an old apartment building that hosts several strange residents. While getting to know her new neighbors, it becomes clear that she has several emotional problems that get in the way of her work and love life. Not only does the stress from work, relationship problems, new apartment issues, the death of her father, and her emotional baggage start to cause trouble.. but turns out this place is haunted. Actually, haunted is a huge understatement, her apartment is resting on the gates of Hell… don’t you hate it when that happens?
They sure don’t make films like this anymore. The characters have substance and.. well… personality. The music is what you would expect from a 70s horror film, but that didn’t really bother me.
The way the film is shot will have you entertained, shocked, confused, and uneasy. When Alison has a flashback, she literally will walk into her memories, so it gets confusing at times. The ghosts were creepy as hell to say the least. In fact, these are some of the freakiest looking spirits I’ve ever seen.
They really hit the jackpot when it came to casting. Cristina Raines did a spectacular job as the leading lady. I’ve never seen her other films, but it is beyond me why her career didn’t go as high as it could. Chris Sarandon, when he was shown, did what he does best. John Carradine, who plays the ever-so-creepy Father Halliran. Just looking at him will give you goosebumps. Christopher Walken shows up from time to time as a Detective. Jeff Goldblum does a pretty good job portraying a typical fashion Director. Even Beverly D’Angelo plays a Character unlike ever before. A sexual voyeristic Lesbian mute. If you look closely.. you can see Richard Dreyfuss as an extra… im sorry… ‘Man on Sidewalk talking to Girl in Red Sweater’… and Tom Berenger as ‘Man at End’.
Without giving anything away, I can tell you without a doubt, that this is one of the best supernatural thrillers ever made. It upsets me that this film is so overlooked. I would choose this movie over Amityville Horror any day. This remains one of my favorites of all time.