The Sentinel (1976)

A model becomes suspicious of her odd neighbors after moving in to an old apartment complex. As she continues to unravel the secrets of the building, she finds out that it is actually a gateway to hell, and that she has been selected as its newest ward. THE SENTINEL takes very slow but deliberate steps, building on the unsettling actions of the tenants as well as Allison's growing paranoia to drive the plot. Though there are few scares, the film sets and maintains an ominous mood that is carried out through its haunting score and decrepit setting. It also boasts an incredible cast, including Chris Sarandon, Jose Ferrer, Burgess Meredith, and John Carradine in addition to early starring roles by Christopher Walken and Jeff Goldbloom. The gradual increases in tension and suspense culminate in the final scenes, when the souls of the damned return to torment the young woman away from becoming a warrior for Christ. While THE SENTINEL has many elements working in its favor, the plodding pace, uninspired camera work, and mild acting make this an average watch that only stands out in a few select moments.

Rating: 7/10.
Number of views: 2.

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  1. I feel the way you do about this one, Carl. Probably the scariest moment is when the corpse walks right past the heroine. The sight of Beverly D'Angelo playing with herself was kind of freaky (am I remembering that right?). Akin to what was done for FREAKS (1932), they used real freaks for the finale, too.

  2. I enjoyed all of the same moments, though I found the freaks to be a little ambiguous and unexplained, and would have preferred that they kept with the demons from earlier in the film for coherence.

  3. I caught this one on Netflix a couple weeks ago; what a waste of a cast. Eli Wallach and Christopher Walken (Yay!) as cops who literally add nothing to the narrative. (damn!)

    I'd say it's 50% decent horror flick and 50% filler.

  4. Agree, only a few great moments in it. I love that ghost she sees in her apartment, the dead guy. Spoooky! And those deformed people at the door of hell....oh and the creepy neighbors.

    Its also interesting for having Jeff Goldblum and Christopher Walken on their earliest roles!