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The Sentinel
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The Sentinel (1977)

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Plot Summary:
"A fashion model moves into a house inhabited (on the top floor) by a blind priest. She begins having strange physical problems, has trouble sleeping at night, and has some nasty flashbacks of her attempted suicide. She complains to the real estate agent of the noise caused by her strange neighbors, but finds out that the house is only occupied by the priest and herself, and ultimately discovers that she has been put in the house for a reason."

Review by
Ryan McDonald
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Review Date: 26 August 2003 My Rating: out of 5


Unstable model Cristina Raines, against the advice of her boyfriend (Chris Sarandon- with the worst moustache you've ever seen) moves into new apartment run by a bunch of freaks who may or may not be a figment of her imagination.

But in reality (heh, heh) Raines and Sarandon are just B-grade clones of Mia Farrow and John Cassavetes from 'Rosemary's Baby'. Worse still is the Gil Melle score that blatantly rips off my favourite horror film, 'The Omen', which was released the previous year.

The film brings little new to the table, including the wonderful Burgess Meredith unfortunately saddled with the Ruth Gordon role, a chatty, pixie-ish landlord. He's good in the role, though, admittedly.

Throw in Arthur Kennedy hamming it up horribly as a 'There is Daaaangggerrrrr!' priest, Martin Balsam (along with Meredith, he's the best thing)as an ancient languages expert, and Beverly D'Angelo and Sylvia Miles as the only lesbian couple to have me turning away from the screen, and you've got one icky and derivative mess. Oh, did I mention that real freaks were apparently used?

Freaks aside, the film never gets off the ground because it is a hodge-podge of every Satanic film you've ever seen. The icky climax may be shamelessly exploitative but it's the only time this film comes alive, disappointing considering the cast also includes Eli Wallach, Ava Gardner, Jeff Goldblum, Christopher Walken, and William Hickey. Watch Tod Browning's 'Freaks' instead.

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